Reports and Scientific Papers
Colleen Matt: This document presents a synopsis of the presentations and discussions at the Third International Bear/Human Conflict and Polar Bear Focus Day. Topics include bear behavior, bear/human conflict updates, bear management, people management, attractant management, education and training, deterrent and detection tools, community‐based programs, and risk and liability.
Robyn D. Appleton, Michael J. Allen, and Kristina Rothley: Purpose - Population Estimation: Obtain a minimum count and density estimates of black bears in the resort Muncipality of Whistler using non-invasive genetic methods; Evaluate Protected Area Network: To evaluate the effectiveness of the PANS by determining the degree of correlation between the results of this study and the proposed protected areas; Priorities For Future Research: Determine priorities for future black bear research in the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
Scott Nielsen et al., Biological Conservation 130: This paper describes a method of estimating relative habitat states and conditions as surrogates of fitness (i.e. survival) using models of occupancy and mortality risk. Primary sinks or high attractive sinks were evident in the foothills where bears were using forest edges associated with forestry and oil and gas activities on Crown lands, while primary habitats or safe harbour sites were most common to protected alpine/sub-alpine sites.
John B. Hopkins III, Stephen Herrero, Richard T. Shideler, Kerry A. Gunther, Charles C. Schwartz, Steven T. Kalinowski: The authors believe that communication within and among agency personnel in the United States and Canada about the successes and failures of their human-bear (Ursidae) management programs will increase the effectiveness of these programs and of bear research. To communicate more effectively, they suggest agencies clearly define terms and concepts used in human-bear management and use them in a consistent manner. They constructed a human-bear management lexicon of terms and concepts using a modified Delphi method to provide a resource that facilitates more effective communication among human-bear management agencies.
Jay Honeyman: Jay Honeyman evaluated the effectiveness of aversive conditioning (AC) as a non-lethal management technique to reduce bear-human conflict, and ultimately reduce bear mortality. The conclusion? AC is an effective management tool to reduce human conflicts with grizzly bears and promote bear population stability.
Lynn L. Rogers: Reliable methods for aiding the wild survival of abandoned or orphaned bear cubs are needed for use with threatened and endangered species and for use with black bears (Ursus americanus) in areas where populations are low. Methods used in northeastern Minnesota and other areas are reported or reviewed. Options include: (1) returning abandoned cubs to their mothers, (2) introducing orphaned cubs to wild foster mothers, (3) leaving orphans alone that have reached the age of self-sufficiency or transporting them to more favorable areas, and (4) raising orphans for release at the age of self-sufficiency. Mothers with cubs will readily accept strange cubs in their dens and, under some conditions, at other times of the year. Foster mothers may need to have supplemental food placed in their territories if they are to raise adopted cubs, especially if adoptions enlarge litters to more than 3 cubs. Although black bear cubs normally remain with their mothers for 17 months, they are commonly self-sufficient at 5 months of age (by July), and they instinctively construct dens in fall. Cubs raised in captivity and released at 5 months to 6 years of age have reportedly shown good survival with few instances of nuisance problems. Most of these releases were in remote areas of Idaho and Michigan.
Lynn L. Rogers - Wildlife Rehabilitation 4:104-111: Reliable methods for aiding the wild survival of abandoned or orphaned bear cubs are needed for use with threatened and endangered species and for use with black bears (Ursus americanus) in areas where populations are low. Methods used in northeastern Minnesota and other areas are reported or reviewed. Options include: (1) returning abandoned cubs to their mothers, (2) introducing orphaned cubs to wild foster mothers, (3) leaving orphans alone that have reached the age of self-sufficiency or transporting them to more favorable areas, and (4) raising orphans for release at the age of self-sufficiency. Mothers with cubs will readily accept strange cubs in their dens and, under some conditions, at other times of the year. Foster mothers may need to have supplemental food placed in their territories if they are to raise adopted cubs, especially if adoptions enlarge litters to more than 3 cubs. Although black bear cubs normally remain with their mothers for 17 months, they are commonly self-sufficient at 5 months of age (by July), and they instinctively construct dens in fall. Cubs raised in captivity and released at 5 months to 6 years of age have reportedly shown good survival with few instances of nuisance problems. Most of these releases were in remote areas of Idaho and Michigan.
Tom S. Smith, Stephen Herrero and Terry D. DeBruyn, Ursus 16(1):1–10 (2005): We present a new paradigm for understanding habituation and the role it plays in brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations and interactions with humans in Alaska. We assert that 3 forms of habituation occur in Alaska: bear-to-bear, bear-to-human, and human-to-bear. We present data that supports our theory that bear density is an important factor influencing a bear's overt reaction distance (ORD); that as bear density increases, overt reaction distance decreases, as does the likelihood of bear- human interactions. We maintain that the effects of bear-to-bear habituation are largely responsible for not only shaping bear aggregations but also for creating the relatively safe environment for bear viewing experienced at areas where there are high densities of brown bears. By promoting a better understanding of the forces that shape bear social interactions within populations and with humans that mingle with them, we can better manage human activities and minimize bear-human conflict.
Adrian Treves, Kristen J. Kapp, and David M. MacFarland: The Wisconsin bear-hunting season did not show clear evidence of reducing nuisance complaints during 1995-2004, probably because hunting was not effectively designed for that goal. We call for additional research on hunter and bear behavior, including experimental tests of hunting individuals with different levels of involvement in property damage. At the statewide scale, complaints about agricultural damage, other property damage, or human safety concerns did not correlate with each other or with number of bears taken by hunters in the preceding 1-2 years.
Mark A. Fraker, Paul D. Curtis, and Marc Mansour: This report discusses a variety of fertility control techniques and makes recommendations for the most effective methods.
Lori Homstol: Community-based social marketing strategies (CBSM) have been shown to be effective at changing human behaviour in other environmental education efforts. This project compared CBSM to more traditional, less intensive door-to-door educational efforts; and to control residents, who were contacted and surveyed but not educated.
MARC CATTET, JOHN BOULANGER, GORDON STENHOUSE, ROGER A. POWELL, AND MELISSA J. REYNOLDS-HOGLAND - Journal of Mammalogy, 89(4):973–990, 2008: These findings challenge persons engaged in wildlife capture to examine their capture procedures and research results carefully. Significant capture-related effects may go undetected, providing a false sense of the welfare of released animals. Further, failure to recognize and account for long-term effects of capture and handling on research results can potentially lead to erroneous interpretations.
Kim Kiel, CPAWS: This paper examines the successes, failures and lessons-learned from several BearSmart or Bear Aware communities in B.C. and the on-going development in Alberta. There seems to be no debate that when communities successfully reduce attractants, such as bird feeders, garbage, fruit, or animal feed, bears are less likely to become food conditioned or habituated. As a result, many communities demonstrated a reduction in the numbers of bear-human incidents and bear mortalities.
N. Caulkett and M.R.L. Cattet, International Veterinary Information Service (www.ivis.org): The pharmacological considerations of anesthetizing bears. Considerations for individual species.
L. Homstol: The author tested the efficacy of aversive conditioning (AC) and conditioned taste aversion (CTA) on American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Whistler, British Columbia. The study used AC (rubber bullets fired from a shotgun and marbles fired from a sling shot) in an attempt to increase bear wariness toward humans and decrease the time bears spend in human developments. Thiabendazole, an emetic with low toxicity, was used to teach bears to associate illness with specific attractants that cause human-bear conflict.
Meredith L. Gore and Barbara A. Knuth, Human Dimensions Research Unit, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University: This research evaluated attitude and behavior change associated with an outreach intervention designed to change residential bear-related behavior and reduce conflict. Based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasive communication, the New York NeighBEARhood Watch (NYNW) pilot program aimed to change 6 residential human behaviors (i.e., bird feeding, pet feeding, composting, garbage storage, grill storage,
hobby farming) and reduce human-black bear conflict.
Tom S. Smith, Wildlife Society Bulletin Volume 26, Number 1 Spring 1998: Herrero and Higgins (1998) found that red pepper spray was effective in halting aggressive brown hear behavior in 88% (14 of 16) of incidents studied. However, red pepper spray is not claimed to be a bear repellent when applied to objects. Nonetheless, instances have been reported of people applying red pepper spray to objects and around campsites in order to repel curios bears. The impetus for this study came from an observation I made of a bear rolling vigorously on beach gravels that had been accidentally sprayed with red pepper spray. To further investigate brown bear reaction to red pepper spray residues, I conducted systematic observations of bear responses to spray discharged at selected sites. I discuss those findings and their implications in this report.
The Custom Fit Communications Group: The Whistler Bear Working Group’s (WBWG) mandate is to minimize human/bear conflicts in the Resort Municipality of Whistler. The purpose of the WBWG is to:
• Develop new community based solutions for minimizing human/bear conflicts and prepare implementation plans for delivery;
• Provide a forum for sharing information, resolving divergent views, and enabling coordinated responses to requests for information;
• Participate in the development and implementation of evaluations to determine the effectiveness of non-lethal bear management techniques and provide feedback to WBWG partners;
• Provide a coordinated approach to community outreach and communications regarding the activities of the WBWG.
Wayne McCrory, RPBio, McCrory Wildlife Services Ltd.: This bear hazard assessment (BHA) was undertaken as one component of the initiative by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to achieve official status as a "Bear Smart Community" under criteria established by the B.C. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (MWLAP). The aim of any bear riskmanagement project is to minimize human-bear conflicts and the associated risk of injury or fatality to humans. It is important to note, however, that when dealing with bears, risk can be mitigated but never
Solid Waste Services, Town of Canmore: This paper will detail the events, challenges and successes that lead to the elimination of curbside waste collection and the implementation of a complete animal proof waste handling system.