The area in and around Banff National Park (BNP) in southwestern Alberta, Canada, is 1 of the most heavily used and developed areas where grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) still exist. During 1994–2002, we radiomarked and monitored 37 female and 34 male bears in this area to estimate rates of survival, reproduction, and population growth. Annual survival rates of bears other than dependent young averaged 95% for females and 81–85% for males. Although this area was largely unhunted, humans caused 75% of female mortality and 86% of male mortality. Females produced their first surviving litter at 6–12 years of age (x̄ = 8.4 years). Litters averaged 1.84 cubs spaced at 4.4-year intervals. Adult (≥ 6-years-old) females produced 0.24 female cubs per year and were expected to produce an average of 1.7 female cubs in their lifetime, based on rates of reproduction and survival. Cub survival was 79%, yearling survival was 91%, and survival through independence at 2.5–5.5 years of age was 72%, as no dependent young older than yearlings died. Although this is the slowest-reproducing grizzly bear population yet studied, high rates of survival seem to have enabled positive population growth (λ = 1.04, 95% CI = 0.99–1.09), based on analyses using Leslie matrices. Current management practices, instituted in the late 1980s, focus on alleviating human-caused bear mortality. If the 1970–1980s style of management had continued, we estimated that an average of 1 more radiomarked female would have been killed each year, reducing female survival to the point that the population would have declined.
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Vol. 69 • No. 1