Talk of a return to the annual grizzly bear hunt has some conservationists growling.

Last week, a report on Alberta’s grizzly bear population estimated the numbers at 681, with only 359 of those considered mature enough to breed.

And though the grizzly bear hunt was suspended in 2006, some are lobbying to have it returned as early as next year.

Sarah Elmeligi, senior conservation planner with Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said bear numbers need to double or triple estimated numbers before any hunt resumes.

Elmeligi said areas where grizzly populations are denser could provide insight into how to preserve areas to sustain bear numbers.

“We should be looking at that population as a model to figure out what we need to do to recover the other grizzly bear populations that are in a considerable amount of trouble,” she said.

An Alberta Fish and Game Association newsletter found online indicated that group’s desire to resume the hunt immediately, saying that it doesn’t believe the grizzly population to be so low and that bears numbers have been steady over the past decade.

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