Greater sage grouse are classified as At Risk in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Greater sage grouse have been designated as Endangered under Alberta's Wildlife Act. It is illegal to hunt or harm these
grouse, or disturb their nests anywhere or at any time in Alberta.
For more information on this species and the assessment and listing process, see:
- Conversion of sagebrush and grassland habitats to croplands is the primary reason for dwindling numbers of sage-grouse in
Alberta. However, overgrazing by cattle may also reduce habitat suitability, or increase the exposure of birds to predators
and extreme weather.
- Agricultural practices, however, are not the only threat to the sage-grouse. Activities associated with exploration for
oil and gas can fragment and reduce the availability of suitable habitat and can disrupt breeding activities.
- Climate is another factor that may be involved; short summers and harsh winters can have drastic effects on the ability
of individuals to find enough food to survive year-round and reproduce in the spring. Drought might also limit the availability
of herbaceous vegetation that is important to the sage-grouse during the summer.
- An emerging threat is the West Nile Virus (WNV). In summer 2003, five sage-grouse deaths from WNV in Alberta were confirmed.
Sage-grouse in Montana and Wyoming also died from WNV. It appears that sage grouse may be very susceptible to this virus,
and biologists plan to monitor this situation closely.
As an Endangered species, the greater sage grouse is protected by the provincial Wildlife Act and it is illegal to kill
or harass individuals or disturb their nests at any time of the year. This species is the subject of recovery planning and
implementation in Alberta.