Navigation Links
Beware of predatory male black bears
Date:5/10/2011

Fatal encounters with black bears have been exceedingly rare during the last century, but appear to be mainly the result of predatory male bears targeting humans in their wilderness home ranges, according to a new study led by the world's leading expert on bear attacks.

In an article published today in the Journal of Wildlife Management, University of Calgary professor emeritus Dr. Stephen Herrero, University of Calgary graduate Andrew Higgins, and colleagues from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and Brigham Young University analyzed the circumstances of all recorded deaths inflicted by non-captive black bears in North America between 1900 and 2009. The study found that 63 people were killed in 59 incidents in Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states. The researchers determined that the majority (88%) of fatal attacks involved a bear exhibiting predatory behaviour, and 92% of the predatory bears were males. The authors suggest male black bears have evolved some different behaviours than females.

"Each year there are millions of interactions between people and black bears with no injuries to people. So while the risk is low, it does exist," said Herrero, an expert in bear behaviour and ecology in the U of C's Faculty of Environmental Design. "Our findings raise some important new insights that can be used to better understand the cause of attacks and how they can be avoided in both the front and backcountry."

In particular, the common belief that surprising a mother bear with cubs is the most dangerous kind of black bear encounter is inaccurate. Instead, lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts. The study also found that fatal attacks do not typically involve bears that are familiar with humans, although some fatal attacks did.

"Most fatal black bear attacks were predatory and all fatal attacks were carried out by a single bear," Herrero said. "With training, people can learn to recognize the behaviour of a bear that is considering them as prey and deter an attack by taking aggressive action such as fighting back."

The paper confirms other current perceptions and bear management practices. It found that bears that have previously killed people are more likely to attack again; parties of more than two people are much less likely to be attacked; and human food and garbage tends to attract bears and may increase the likelihood of serious bear attacks.

Examining 110 years of data also allowed the researchers to identify historical and geographic trends of black bear attacks. They found that 86% of fatal attacks occurred since 1960; that fatalities are more common in Canada and Alaska despite lower human populations and less contact between humans and bears than in the lower 48 states; and that human population growth is accompanied by rising fatal bear attacks.

"We didn't demonstrate why population growth is correlated with more bear attacks but we suspect it is because there are more people pursuing recreational and commercial activities in black bear habitat," Herrero said. "Similarly, we don't know exactly why there have been more attacks in Canada and Alaska, but we speculate that it could be because bears in those areas are living in less productive habitat with periodic food stress, which may predispose some bears to consider people as prey."


'/>"/>

Contact: Grady Semmens
gsemmens@ucalgary.ca
403-220-7722
University of Calgary
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NASA scientist publishes new book: Coming Climate Crisis? Consider the Past, Beware the Big Fix
2. Urban gardeners beware: There may be lead in your soil and food
3. Buyer beware: Dangerous levels of lead found in used consumer products
4. Coffee, energy drinkers beware: Many mega-sized drinks loaded with sugar, MU nutrition expert says
5. Predatory bacterial swarm uses rippling motion to reach prey
6. Mighty predatory mite and oil sprays may save eggplant production in Micronesia
7. Predatory bugs can save cornfields
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. Chemopreventive agents in black raspberries identified
10. Biologists solve mystery of black wolves
11. New blackberry introduced
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 2017  higi, the health IT company that operates ... America , today announced a Series B investment ... EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy ... transform population health activities through the collection and workflow ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf of ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... MILAN , March 24, 2017 The Controller ... Deputy Controller Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international ... Continue Reading ... ... small picture) and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... The University City Science Center is ... for commercialization, and who are affiliated with the 21 partner academic and research ... now in its tenth round, is the first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program for the ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... 16, 2017 , ... Clinical Supplies Management (“CSM”), a Great Point Partners II ... grow. CSM has doubled in size over the past six months with the ... , Roger Gasper joins CSM as Chief Financial Officer. Roger has over 25 ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... Cognition Corporation ... commercialization, has just released version 9.0 of the Cognition Cockpit platform. , “Our ... Cockpit,” says David Cronin, CEO of Cognition. “We’re thrilled to finally be able ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... 17, 2017 , ... G-CON Manufacturing, Inc., the leader in ... Jornitz, was recognized as a Top 10 Industry Influencer on The Medicine Maker’s ... bettering the pharma industry and bringing life-changing medicines to market” across four categories. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: