Mortality resulting from human–wildlife conflicts affects wildlife populations globally. Since 2004, we have been researching conservation issues and implementing a comprehensive program to reduce human–bear conflicts (Ursus spp.; HBC) for 3 small, fragmented, and threatened grizzly bear (U. arctos) populations in the trans-border region of southwest Canada and northwest USA. We explored the temporal and spatial patterns of conflict mortality and found that HBC contributed significantly to the threatened status of these populations by causing decline, fragmentation, and decreased habitat effectiveness. Our program to reduce HBCs primarily included strategic private lands purchased to reduce human density in wildlife corridors, the reduction of bear attractants where human settlement and agriculture exists, and the nonlethal management of conflict bears. Attractant management strategies encompassed public education, cost-share electric fencing, bear-resistant garbage containers, and deadstock containment. We taught bear safety courses and bear spray training to increase tolerance and give people tools to avoid negative encounters with bears. We radio-collared and used nonlethal management on potential conflict bears and have a ~75% success rate in that the bear was alive and out of conflict situations over the life of the radio-collar. We identified important backcountry grizzly bear foraging habitat for motorized access control to reduce conflict and mortality and provide habitat security to reproductive females. Ongoing monitoring has demonstrated that our comprehensive HBC program has resulted in a significant reduction in human-caused mortality, increased inter-population connectivity, and improved habitat effectiveness. Several challenges remain, however, including an increase in the numbers of young grizzly bears living adjacent to agricultural areas. Herein we discuss strategies for how to integrate conservation vision into future HBC reduction programs.
Proctor, Michael F.; Kasworm, Wayne F.; Annis, Kimberly M.; MacHutchon, A. Grant; Teisberg, Justin E.; Radandt, Thomas G.; and Servheen, Chris
"Conservation of Threatened Canada-USA Trans-border Grizzly Bears Linked to Comprehensive Conflict Reduction,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 12
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol12/iss3/6