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Wednesday, January 30 • 11:00am - 11:20am
(SYMPOSIA-16) Behavioral Approaches to Mitigating Human-Wildlife Conflict

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AUTHORS: Travis L. DeVault, USDA National Wildlife Research Center; Bradley F. Blackwell, USDA National Wildlife Research Center; Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, Purdue University; Eric M. Gese, USDA National Wildlife Research Center; Lynne Gilbert-Norton, Utah State University; Stewart W. Breck, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: The study of animal behavior is foundational to solving issues of coexistence between people and wild animals. In this presentation we build on an earlier effort examining the role that behavioral principles play in understanding and mitigating human-wildlife conflict, and delineate gaps in behavioral theory relative to mitigating these conflicts. We consider two different, yet contemporary, examples of human-wildlife conflict: animal-vehicle collisions and carnivore depredation of livestock. Although ostensibly unrelated, both conflict areas share common themes relative to animal behavioral responses to disturbance and perception of risk. The behavioral approaches to conflict management we describe also have application for other types of agricultural damage. We first place the effects on wildlife in the scope of population sustainability, and then examine current research relative to the following three questions: How is behavioral ecology relevant to this particular area of conflict? Are advances toward understanding the mechanisms by which animals process information and make decisions being translated into management methods? How might management efforts be affected over time by individual behaviors, method integration and habituation/sensitization? Only in the last decade have researchers applied an antipredator theoretical framework with sensory ecology to understand aspects of animal responses to vehicle approach, speed and associated stimuli. However, the size and speeds of modern vehicles demand that we improve models and possibly develop novel theoretical frameworks to better predict animal responses to vehicle approach. Within the context of carnivore-livestock depredation, our understanding of individual predator behavior relative to perceived risk and factors contributing to the development of problem individuals will influence the efficacy of the most promising, nonlethal management approaches (e.g. distractive techniques, reproductive inhibition and olfactory barriers). In both cases, successful management is contingent upon a mechanistic understanding of how animals respond to disturbance and the information utilized to assess risk.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am