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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Experiences with aversive conditioning of habituated brown bears in Austria and other European countries

Published source details

Rauer G., Kaczensky P. & Knauer F. (2003) Experiences with aversive conditioning of habituated brown bears in Austria and other European countries. Ursus, 14, 215-224


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use non-lethal methods to deter carnivores from attacking humans Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1995–2000 of seven animals across a mixed, but mostly forested, landscape in central Austria (Rauer et al. 2003) found that shooting rubber bullets, chasing, shouting and throwing items to reduce brown bears’ Ursus arctos habituation to humans was partially successful. After 16 aversive conditioning treatments on seven bears, they returned to the site of treatment within <1 day to >6 months. The time to their next observed habituated behaviour (being ≤50 m from an observer and behaving in an indifferent or curious manner) was one week to three years. Aversive treatments, some in combination, included five capture events, 11 discharges of rubber bullets, four uses of cracker shells and two of fireworks and warning shots. Bears were monitored through reported sightings and footprint tracking. Three bears were also tracked using radio-collars and ear transmitters, but these became detached from two bears.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)