Title page for ETD etd-06222007-110425

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Leigh, Jennifer
URN etd-06222007-110425
Title Effects of Aversive Conditioning on Behavior of Nuisance Louisiana Black Bears
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael Chamberlain Committee Chair
Craig Miller Committee Member
Frank Rohwer Committee Member
  • Louisiana black bear
  • aversive conditioning
  • nuisance
Date of Defense 2007-06-05
Availability unrestricted
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.
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