Concerns that continued wilderness contact with grizzlies leads to more deaths

CALGARY - An environmental group says another 15 grizzly bears died in Alberta last year largely as a result of contact with people.

Sean Nichols from the Alberta Wilderness Association says all but one of the deaths could be attributed to human causes: bears being struck by vehicles on highways, being shot in self-defence or killed illegally.

He says 195 of the threatened species have died in the province in the last decade.

Nichols wants the Alberta government to do more to limit public access to the backcountry in future land-use plans.

A spokeswoman for Alberta Environment points out the last year's 15 deaths are the lowest since 2007 when the province ended the annual grizzly hunt.

Nikki Booth says public access is one of the things that will be considered in a draft of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan later this summer.