Habituate mammals to visitors

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of habituating mammals to visitors. This study was in the USA.





  • Human-wildlife conflict (1 study): A study in the USA found that brown bears that were highly habituated to humans showed less aggression towards human visitors than did non-habituated bears.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A study in 1973–1993 in a riverine and grassland site in Alaska, USA (Aumiller & Matt 1994) found that brown bears Ursus arctos that were highly habituated to humans showed less aggression towards human visitors than did non-habituated bears. Results were not tested for statistical significance. No intense charges were made at people by highly habituated bears compared to eight by bears that were not highly habituated (four by ‘wary’ and four by ‘partially habituated’ bears). No human injuries from bears were recorded. All charges, other aggressive displays and bear visits to the campsite were averted by actions such as loud noises or, occasionally, use of non-lethal rubber shot. The programme operated in a 999-km2 protected area in which bear hunting was prohibited. Bears were habituated by being in proximity to people in non-threatening interactions (see paper for details; numbers of bears not provided). Human visitors away from the campground were restricted to 10/day, usually from early June to late August. Visitors were in groups, escorted by park staff and were instructed in exhibiting non-threatening behaviour, such as avoiding loud noises or sudden movements.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation - Published 2020

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

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