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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bear relocations to avoid bear/sheep conflicts

  • Author(s): Armistead, Alan R.
  • Mitchell, Ken
  • Connolly, Guy E.
  • et al.

Preventive relocation of black bears (Ursus americanus) was tried as an alternative to lethal removal of bears that attacked sheep in northeastern Oregon. Bears in likely problem areas or in close proximity to sheep bands were captured with culvert traps and moved to other ranges without sheep. Sixteen bears were relocated in 1990 and five in 1991 from areas where five damaging bears had been destroyed in 1989. The five bears relocated in 1991 were radio collared and monitored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. None of them were involved in livestock depredations subsequent to relocation. Sheep losses to bears were lower in 1990 and 1991 than in prior years when bears were not relocated. Relocation appears to be a feasible alternative to lethal control of black bears that attack livestock. The costs of preventative relocation and killing depredation bears were approximately equal, but relocation was deemed more acceptable to the general public.

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