Navigation Links
When bears steal human food, mom's not to blame
Date:5/7/2008

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) found that the black bears that become habituated to human food and garbage may not be learning these behaviors exclusively from their mothers, as widely assumed. Bears that steal human food sources are just as likely to form these habits on their own or pick them up from unrelated, bad influence bears.

The study, which examines the role of genetic relatedness in black bear behavior that leads to conflict with humans, appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Mammalogy.

Understanding how bears acquire behavior is important in conservation biology and devising strategies to minimize potential human-wildlife conflicts, says Dr. Jon Beckmann, a co-author of the study. According to our findings, bears that feed on human food and garbage are not always learning these habits from their mothers.

Distributed across much of North America, black bearswhich average around 300 pounds in weightbecome a problematic species for wildlife managers when they become accustomed to human sources of food, and the habit is a hard one to break. Bears that develop these tendencies often remain problem bears for human communities, leading to property damage, injuries to people, not to mention costly relocation and sometimes death for bears.

Working in both the Lake Tahoe Basin on the California-Nevada border and Californias Yosemite National Park (where bears breaking into visitors cars has become commonplace), the researchers examined genetic and behavioral data for 116 black bears. The bears were classified as either food-conditioned (or hooked on human food) or non-food-conditioned (those bears that forage on natural food sources). The study also focused on nine mother-offspring pairs to test the assumption that mother bears teach their cubs to invade garbage bins or homes.

The verdict: Researchers found little evidence linking food-conditioned behavior with related lineage. The study indicates that bears may seek out human food as a function of social learning that may be independent of close relatives, or as a habit that is acquired in isolation from other bears. Specifically, the study identified the mothers of nine of the bears in the study, of which five (56 percent) did not share the behavioral habits of their mothers.

These findings can help inform management strategies that would otherwise assume that cubs will always repeat the behaviors of food-conditioned mothers, says Dr. Jodi Hilty, Director of WCS-North America. Moving mothers and cubs may have only a limited effect in eliminating human-bear conflicts, which seem to be primarily driven by human food sources that are available to bears.

Meanwhile on the East Coast, WCS-Adirondacks has been supplying the High Peaks Wilderness Area in upstate New York with bear-proof food canisters for campers to rent at local stores. A recent survey found that 95 percent of campers now use the canisters, and reports of conflicts between bears and campers have declined significantly.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Bear spray a viable alternative to guns for deterring bears, BYU study shows
2. New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears
3. Researchers discover how stealthy HIV protein gets into cells
4. Is that sea otter stealing your lunch -- or making it?
5. Researchers report the cloning of a key group of human genes, the protein kinases
6. Ancient Nutcracker Man challenges ideas on evolution of human diet
7. Dawn of human matrilineal diversity
8. Bloodless worm sheds light on human blood, iron deficiency
9. Are humans hardwired for fairness?
10. Human vascular system in mice
11. Scientists find a fingerprint of evolution across the human genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
When bears steal human food, mom's not to blame
(Date:11/16/2016)... , Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory ... experience and security for consumer electronics, and ... financial and retail industry, today announced a global ... convenient way to authenticate users of mobile banking ... TrulySecure™ software which requires no specialized ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  xG Technology, Inc. ("xG" or ... critical wireless communications for use in challenging operating environments, ... 30, 2016. Management will hold a conference call to ... p.m. Eastern Time (details below). Key Recent ... $16 million binding agreement to acquire Vislink Communication Systems. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics ... Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows ... at the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... percentage of growth in each of the following categories: net ... and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... a new moving magnet Voice Coil Actuator with a flexure design that ensures ... long life with cost-effective pricing and is ideally suited where extreme precision is ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... publicly available collection of gene edited, fluorescently tagged ... cellular structures with unprecedented clarity. Distributed through the ... are a crucial first step toward visualizing the ... makes human cells healthy and what goes wrong ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016 Part of 5m$ Investment in ... ... Aptuit, LLC today announced that it had successfully completed the ... compounds have increased the Screening Collection to over 400,000. The ... capabilities of the company. This expansion, complemented by new robotics ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... On 28 November 2016, the International Union of ... nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og), respectively for element 113, 115, ... proposed by the discoverers have been approved by the IUPAC Bureau. The IUPAC Council ...
Breaking Biology Technology: