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Addressing Bear/Human Encounters in the Adirondacks

Are you a genius bear? Are you capable of opening complex containers designed specifically to thwart your efforts? Have you shown signs of primitive culture by passing your knowledge along to others?

If so, here is some buckshot for your efforts.

Watch out Yellow-Yellow!

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is taking steps to do some “aversion conditioning” with the bears who frequent the popular High Peaks area in New York’s Adirondacks. Aversion conditioning is a nice way of saying, ‘we’re gonna shoot some frisky bears in the ass with rubber bullets.’

The idea is to reinforce the message that people equal pain – not food. The hope is that aversion conditioning, in conjunction with increased hiker education and awareness, will help avoid negative bear/human encounters… and thus help save the lives of the bears in this area.

A trap and a spanking can be especially effective at redirecting the young guys. One GPS-collared [bear] that Tabor hazed near Lake Colden in 2005 high-tailed it out of there and headed for Crown Point, possibly his home range. Red-Green, by contrast, became aggressive with age. He began entering lean-tos and growling at campers, a strategy that rewarded him with food until DEC wildlife staff shot and killed him in 2006.

Adirondack Explorer

Yellow-yellow seems to be appropriately afraid of humans and has shown no signs of aggression, so the DEC considers her to be a good bear to have in the area. She is also becoming the official ‘tester’ of new food canister technologies for manufacturers such as BearVault.

But how is she adjusting to this whole “aversion conditioning” effort?

Tabor and Reed speak with some admiration of Yellow-Yellow, who has played them, feigning grogginess after being trapped, crawling until she reaches cover, and then peeling out before they can reinforce the lesson with rubber buckshot.

Adirondack Explorer

The Adirondack Explorer covers this issue in an excellent article written by Mary Thill, you can find it in its entirety here: Scientists seek bear facts.

1 Comment

  1. Hydrolyze
    Hydrolyze02-18-2010

    Hey there! Good concept, but will this truly work?

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