Does aversive conditioning reduce human-black bear conflict?

  • Published source details Mazur R.L. (2010) Does aversive conditioning reduce human-black bear conflict?. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74, 48-54.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Scare or otherwise deter mammals from human-occupied areas to reduce human-wildlife conflict

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Scare or otherwise deter mammals from human-occupied areas to reduce human-wildlife conflict

    A study in 2002–2005 in a national park in California, USA (Mazur 2010) found that aversive conditioning reduced the number of black bears Ursus americanus that were accustomed to seeking food at human-frequented locations revisting. Of 29 bears accustomed to taking human-food, 17 ceased to do so, six required continued aversion conditioning and six “persistent offenders” were removed or killed for safety reasons. Over 150 bears were subject to 1,050 aversive conditioning events. Of these, 729 events involved 36 individual food-conditioned or habituated bears (seven became habituated in the final year of the study, so their subsequent behaviour was not assessed). Five personnel drove bears from campsites and other human-occupied areas by throwing rocks and using sling shots, pepper spray, rubber slug projectiles and chasing. All actions were accompanied by shouting. Aversive conditioning actions were carried out each summer, from June 2002 to September 2005.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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