Alberta grizzly bear killings rise in 2013

Eleven grizzly bears were killed illegally in Alberta this year. And according to officials, poachers are to blame.

Officials blame poachers for 11 deaths last year

Alberta government officials say that 11 grizzlies were killed illegally last year. (Steve Michel/Parks Canada/Canadian Press)

Eleven grizzly bears were killed illegally in Alberta this year. And according to officials, poachers are to blame.

In a blog post released by the province’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) department, 26 confrimed human-caused grizzly deaths were reported in 2013, more than any other year in the last decade.

However, the number of bears poached last year were also the highest seen in years.

Officials say the numbers can be explained by increased enforcement. But Katie Morrison with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society blames increasing encroachment into grizzly bear territory.

"That's roads, trails, anything that people and especially motorized vehicles can get into grizzly bear habitat and in Alberta we see a lot of that," she said. 

Grizzlies are a threatened species and the province estimates that there are close to 700 bears in Alberta.

The poaching of these animals has been prohibited since 2005 and if caught, fines can go up to $100,000. 

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