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

  • Author / Creator
    Homstol, Lori
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.