Aversive Conditioning

About the Aversive Conditioning Project

The goal of this project is to teach bears to avoid people in developed areas in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley near Canmore.

How is Aversive Conditioning Carried Out?

Karelian Bear Dogs, noisemakers, and various non-lethal projectiles are used when bears linger in developed areas or seek food sources in human-use places. This teaches them that doing so yields no positive reward.

This negative experience can prevent habituation and reduce the chance that bears will learn to seek out food sources near people.

How is the Effectiveness of Aversive Conditioning Monitored?

As part of this work, conducted by government staff as well as by private contractors, detailed data are collected to describe the bears’ reaction to the conditioning.

Over time, this information is used to evaluate the effectiveness of aversive conditioning as a management tool, and determine if certain types of bears respond to aversive conditioning better than others.

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Updated: May 16, 2017