Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Iowa
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Mace, R., K.Aune, W. Kasworm, R. Klaver, and J. Claar. 1987. Incidence of Human Conflicts by Research Grizzly Bears. Wildlife Society Bulletin 15:170-173


The capture, immobilization, and marking of wild grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) for research has occurred in western Montana since 1975. Field studies by state, federal, and university personnel have recently come under public criticism regarding the handling of this species. Considerable media attention and speculation have been generated concerning the long- term effects of this research on the behavior of grizzly bears (McRae 1986). Media comments and public perception suggest that bears handled by researchers behave differently from, and are more prone to conflict with man, than bears not handled. Unfortunately, there is no way to test this hypothesis. To do so would require knowledge of the behavior, activity patterns, and history of human-bear encounters of nonhandled grizzly bears. It was possible, however, to draw inferences on this question by investigating the activities of "research bears" subsequent to capture. The objectives of this analysis were to determine the percentage of research bears that conflicted with man, document the types of offenses committed, and compare these data to known problem grizzly bears.