2 charged after collared grizzly bear shot and killed in Alberta

Two Alberta men have been charged after a collared grizzly bear was shot and killed near Edson in May.

The male bear, who was around three to four years old and weighed about 200 pounds, was part of a grizzly bear research program. He had originally been collared in Jasper in the spring, according to Brendan Cox, a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson.

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    A biologist with the fRI Research in Hinton reported the collar on the grizzly had stopped working on May 26.

    “Fish and Wildlife were notified within 24 hours,” said Sean Kinney, a spokesman for fRI Research.

    An investigation showed the bear was in fact shot and killed by a poacher.

    Ronald Raymond Motkoski, of Edson, is charged with hunting wildlife during a closed season, possessing wildlife and providing false information. John Peter Grant, of Fort McMurray, is charged with possessing wildlife, contrary to section 55(1) of the Wildlife Act.

    Collars continue to play an important role in the protection of grizzly bears, as the bears are a protected species in Alberta.

    “Collar data is used by a number of our research projects that inform land and resource management and support the long-term conservation of grizzly bears,” Kinney wrote in an email to Global News.

    Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of two grizzly bears relocated from the Calgary area

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    Grizzly bears can travel long distances and these collars play a role in being able to track and locate them, he said.

    While poaching isn’t a common occurrence in the province, Kinney said that three collared grizzly bears were killed illegally in 2013.

    The biggest cause of grizzly bear deaths between 2006 and 2013 resulted from illegal hunting and also from collisions with cars, according to the province’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan.

    According to the Report a Poacher program, there have been over 10,000 calls to the hotline, and over 2,000 of those calls regarded “suspected illegal activity.”

    If you suspect that someone is hunting illegally, you can contact the Report a Poacher hotline at 1-800-642-3900.

    More information on the government’s Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan can be found here.

    Edson is located about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton.

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