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Grizzly Bears are larger than black bears and more heavily built. They can be recognized by their prominent shoulder hump, dish-shaped face and long claws. Colour varies from light gold to almost black, with pale bears being the most common on the barren-lands.

Weight: Females, 120 to 160 kg (260 to 350 lb); Males, 150 to 250 kg (330 to 550 lb)

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Grizzly Bears use open or semi-forested areas, most commonly in alpine and subalpine terrain, on the tundra, and less commonly in the boreal forest. They are becoming more common in areas of the NWT and Nunavut where they used to be rarely seen.

Grizzly Bears can travel long distances. One bear collared on the tundra travelled 471 km in 23 days. Grizzly Bears require large areas of habitat. The largest home ranges are known from the central barrens of the NWT and Nunavut, where Grizzly Bears have home ranges of up to 6,700 km2 for males and 2,100 km2 for females.

Bears are very powerful animals. Learn to avoid conflicts with bears and always travel in groups. Remember to follow basic bear safety precautions.

The NWT is home to an estimated 4,000-5,000 grizzly bears with the highest densities found in the Mackenzie and Richardson Mountains. Grizzly Bears in the NWT, and throughout their range in Canada, are sensitive to population declines because they do not reproduce until they are between six and eight years of age, they have small litters (one to three cubs), and there are three to five years between litters.

Individual bears move great distances so they may be exposed to the negative effects of human developments or activities, even when these activities occur at a considerable distance from the core range. Human activity such as communities, campsites and industrial development in the NWT may lead to human-bear conflicts and bear mortalities.

COSEWIC assessed the population of Grizzly Bear that occurs in the NWT as Special Concern in Canada in 1991, 2002 and 2012.  Grizzly Bear was listed as a species of Special Concern under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2018.

The NWT Species at Risk Committee (SARC) assessed Grizzly Bear as Special Concern in the NWT in 2017. Following consideration of this assessment, the NWT Conference of Management Authorities (CMA) arrived at consensus not to add Grizzly Bear to the NWT List of Species at Risk. Rationale for not listing Grizzly Bear can be found in the CMA's consensus agreement below.

Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), any international shipment of Grizzly Bears or their parts requires a permit.

Dehcho Gwich'in Inuvialuit North Slave / Tłı̨chǫ Sahtú South Slave