Learn about living with bears; creating bear smart communities; recreating in bear country; bear safety at work; and managing bears (for wildlife officials).

Passive Conditioning

electric fence deters a bearPassive bear aversion involves the delivery of an immediate deterrent caused by the action of the animal itself. This can include an electric shock upon making contact with an electric fence, triggering a motion sensor that in turn activates a siren, or releasing bear spray by taking bait.

One of the advantages of passive techniques is that negative conditioning can be instantaneously accomplished in the absence of people. This decreases the manpower, and consequently the costs, required to condition bears, and bears receive instantaneous and consistent conditioning every time they engage in an undesirable behaviour. Passive bear aversion is therefore highly recommended. Another benefit of most passive conditioning mechanisms is their ease of use and the peace of mind they offer residents.

Because the conditioning works 24 hours/day in the absence of people, bears become conditioned to be wary of human-use areas rather than people. As a result, passive conditioning may be useful in situations where bears have been aversively conditioned to people, but still try to access human food sources at night or at other times when people are not around.

Passive conditioning devices and techniques show great promise, particularly those that deliver an electric shock or a shot of bear spray. However, bears may habituate to various sound or visual methods over time. Most equipment used to deliver passive aversion also requires regular maintenance to remain effective.

A number of passive conditioning devices have been developed and are available on the market. Click here to learn more.

Bottom line: nothing is more effective than an electric shock, easily admistered by a temporary electric fence. Managers can keep a portable fence on hand and erect where necessary, until property owners can purchase and erect their own. It’s best to break bad habits early on before they become engrained. Buy a portable electric fence here.