Individual study: Taste-aversion conditioning to reduce nuisance activity by black bears in a Minnesota military reservation
Ternent M.A. & Garshelis D.L. (1999) Taste-aversion conditioning to reduce nuisance activity by black bears in a Minnesota military reservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 27, 720-728
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Use conditioned taste aversion to reduce human-wildlife conflict in non-residential sites
A study in 1992–1994 in a predominantly forested area in Minnesota, USA (Ternent & Garshelis 1999) found that inducing conditioned taste aversion through lacing military-issue meals with thiabendazole led to black bears Ursus americanus subsequently avoiding these foods. Consumption of laced meals induced illness in bears in <90 minutes. Thereafter, over 2–122 days post-treatment, bears did not consume military-issue meals offered during 32 of 41 trials and partially consumed such meals during nine trials. Only once did partial consumption comprise >50% of the meal. Other foodstuffs were, at least partially, consumed in 78% of trials. One year later, two of the bears did not consume military-issue meals in any of seven trials. However, one more year later, in a single trial, one of the bears fully consumed a military-issue meal. In May 1992, two adult female bears and three yearlings that were resident on a military reservation were each given a military-issue meal laced with thiabendazole (72–165 mg/kg bear). Bears were habituated to humans and could be studied closely without disturbance. Meals were ready-to-eat and consisted of a range of foods, each in sealed pouches and all in a sealed brown plastic bag. Subsequent trials involved military-issue meals and other foodstuffs (raw bacon, jelly, or peanut butter and jelly on bread).
(Summarised by Rebecca F. Schoonover)