Identifier

etd-06222007-110425

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Consistent habitat loss and fragmentation are contributing factors to the rise of human-bear conflicts in south Louisiana. Complaints associated with nuisance activities of Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus) experienced in this region have steadily increased since 2000, requiring intervention by state and federal agencies. As a threatened species, Louisiana black bears require non-lethal management referred to as aversive conditioning. We used rubber buckshot and dogs to test the effectiveness of management techniques used by the state to deter nuisance activity by black bears. Eleven bears, representing approximately 15% of the estimated population in this region, were captured in residential and industrial areas reporting nuisance activity. Bears were fitted with radio-transmitting collars and released within 2 km of the capture site. Each bear was randomly placed within 1 of 2 treatments; treatment 1 (n=5) used rubber buckshot and treatment 2 (n=6) used the rubber buckshot in combination with dogs. Bears were monitored using telemetry to estimate movements and interactions with anthropogenic resources. Bears, on average, remained within 2 km of capture sites 2 weeks following release. Ten bears (91%) returned to nuisance behavior within 5 months, regardless of treatment. Results suggest that aversive conditioning techniques used to deter bears from nuisance activity have limited short term effectiveness.

Date

2007

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael Chamberlain

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