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Retrofitting Dumpsters with Bear Resistant Lids to Reduce Human-Bear Conflict in New Jersey

  • Author(s): Makkay, Amanda M.
  • Burguess, Kelcey I.
  • Zellner, Andrew S.
  • Huffman, Jane E.
  • et al.
Abstract

Black bear populations are increasing throughout North America. When areas of black bear population expansion overlap regions of substantial human use, conflict can ensue. Human-bear conflicts can have negative economic, health/safety, and social impacts. Attraction to human foods brings bears into more frequent contact with people, resulting in a higher probability of negative human-bear encounters. In order to achieve successful management of human-bear conflicts, the use of bear-resistant lids outfitted on dumpsters is one management tool. We evaluated the efficacy of Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee-approved, modified, bear-resistant lids that were installed on dumpsters in a community in northwestern New Jersey. Black bear sows exhibiting nuisance behavior were trapped in the community at dumpster sites, outfitted with either VHF or GPS satellite collars, and their movements were tracked for the year prior to the installation of the retrofitted bear-resistant dumpster lids. After the lids were installed, movement patterns of the sows were monitored to determine if bears altered their behavior and left the area when dumpster access was no longer available. Residents of the community were also surveyed and offered educational programs regarding the black bear population in their community.

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