Effects of Aversive Conditioning on Behavior of Nuisance Louisiana Black Bears
Other literature type
Chamberlain, Michael J.
- Publisher: DigitalCommons@USU
Atchafalaya Basin | aversive conditioning | black bear | human–bear conflicts | human–wildlife conflicts | Louisiana | nuisance | Ursus americanus luteolus | Animal Sciences
Complaints associated with nuisance activity by Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus) in south Louisiana have steadily increased since 2000, demanding intervention by state and federal agencies. As a federally threatened species, Louisiana black bears that are a nuisance require nonlethal management, referred to as aversive conditioning. We used rubber buckshot and dogs to test the effectiveness of management techniques used by the state of Louisiana to deter nuisance bear activity. We captured 11 bears in residential and industrial areas where nuisance bear activity was reported. We fitted bears with radiotransmitting collars and released them within 2 km of the capture site. We conditioned 5 bears using only rubber buckshot and 6 bears with rubber buckshot and dogs. Bears were monitored using telemetry to estimate movements and space use. All bears remained within 2 km of capture sites 2 weeks following release. Ten bears (91%) returned to nuisance behavior within 5 months, regardless of treatment. Mean distance from capture sites did not differ between treatments. Our results suggest that aversive conditioning techniques used in Louisiana to deter bears from nuisance activity have limited short-term effectiveness, independent of practices addressing food source.