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Applications of learning theory to human-bear conflict: the efficacy of aversive conditioning and conditioned taste aversion Open Access


Other title
black bears
human-bear conflict
aversive conditioning
conditioned taste aversion
British Columbia
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Homstol, Lori
Supervisor and department
St. Clair, Colleen Cassady (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Hurd, Peter (Psychology)
Derocher, Andrew (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
I tested the efficacy of aversive conditioning (AC) and conditioned taste aversion (CTA) on American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Whistler, British Columbia. Black bears subjected to 3-5 day AC programs responded by increasing their wariness toward humans, while control bears habituated. Bears were located closer to human developments during daylight hours after AC treatments. However, there was no difference in the proportion of utilization distribution that overlapped with developed areas in control or AC-treated bears. CTA may be effective for managing specific attractants that are difficult to secure from bears. Bears appeared to distinguish between baits treated with thiabendazole and baits that were not treated, but by using a protocol that caused severe illness and left the source of illness in doubt, I induced taste aversions to apples in 4 bears. Using both AC and CTA may help wildlife managers mitigate human-wildlife conflicts non-lethally more effectively.
License granted by Lori Homstol ( on 2011-01-28T21:02:25Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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