International Association for Bear Research and Management fRI Research Fellowship

IBA-SG 2020/21: Mapping Information, Education and Outreach, Human-Bear Conflict Hot Spots, and Conflict-Reduction Infrastructure Needs in the Bitterroot Valley, MT Area (BV) (Phase 2B)

Project Leader and Contact: Jessica Reyes, Wind River Bear Institute-Wind River Karelian Bear Dog Partners Program Biologist

Project Supervisors: Nils Pedersen, Wind River Bear Institute Director; Carrie Hunt, Wind River Karelian Bear Dog Partners Director

Project Collaborators:  Private citizens and businesses of the Bitterroot Valley (BV), the Lolo Community Council, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Defenders of Wildlife, Vital Ground, People and Carnivores, The Bitterroot Sapphire Corridor Coalition, The Bitterroot Sanitation Work Group, Bitterroot Disposal, Republic Services, and state and county representatives. The project will be directed by MFWP Grizzly Bear Management Specialist, James Jonkel and wardens, Region 2 (R2).

Project Summary

In order to support the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) population recovery in the continental United States, it is essential to improve habitat connectivity between the recovery ecosystems. The Bitterroot Valley of Montana (BV) is considered a critical linkage zone for the Northern Continental Divide (NCDE), Greater Yellowstone (GYE) and the Bitterroot (BE) Grizzly Bear Recovery Ecosystems, but recorded human-black bear conflicts in the region have resulted in frequent human-caused bear mortalities and negative interactions between people and bears. For grizzly bear habitat linkage between the NCDE, GYE, and the BE to be successful, it is critical that communities in the BV are prepared to proactively mitigate conflicts by preventing bear access to human-associated foods and by having non-lethal bear management techniques at their disposal. Understanding when and where these conflicts have occurred will facilitate targeted and effective management strategies for agencies and enhance public awareness of their role in reducing conflicts and increasing safety for bears and people, as grizzly bear populations expand into the BE.  Therefore, it is essential for agencies and communities to mitigate human-black bear conflicts using proactive, non-lethal bear management techniques to prepare for grizzly bear population expansion into this area. This project will increase public awareness and understanding of bears and improve bear and wildlife connectivity between the Grizzly Bear Recovery Ecosystems by providing Information Education and Outreach (IEO) and assistance for communities, making private and public lands safer for bears and people.

The grant awarded by the IBA will enable me to obtain the materials and equipment required to collaborate with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 2 Grizzly Bear Management Specialist, James Jonkel, local communities, organizations, and agencies; to create and publish a working map of conflict hot spots, IEO and infrastructure needs within the BV area, using data collected in the 2020 and 2021 field seasons. Mapping and on-site assistance will serve to identify priority targets for IEO and bear-resistant infrastructure, enabling project collaborators to focus efforts and resources more accurately and efficiently. The project provides increased IEO and assistance for private citizens, land use groups and communities, to reduce conflict and human-caused bear mortality, and to improve bear habitat and travel linkage zones.  I am most honored and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the IBA on grizzly bear conservation objectives with this grant.

International Association for Bear Research and Management Elizabeth Grace Bivins Fuller Memorial Fellowship

IBA-SG 2020/21-01 and 2021/22 01:
Mapping the spatial and temporal distribution of buffaloberry to determine grizzly bear habitat selection.

Mackenzie Clarke, University of British Columbia MSc. Project
https://mackenziejclarke.weebly.com/

Supervisors and Committee:
Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais, University of British Columbia
Dr. Garth Mowat, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development
Dr. Lael Parrot, University of British Columbia
Dr. Clayton Lamb.University of British Columbia

Project Summary

In order to support brown bear (Ursus arctos) conservation in British Columbia, it is critical to understand factors influencing habitat selection and resource distribution. Our study is developing approaches to understand the human and environmental factors that influence brown bear use of key resources, like buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis), and predict how these factors influence space-time patterns of brown bear habitat use. Notably, this research combines data, including over a decade of GPS telemetry and vegetation plot data, from several independent studies across a massive longitudinal gradient in southern British Columbia, from the Coast Mountains to the Rocky Mountains. This research will focus on two objectives: a) creating a predictive map of buffaloberry selection by grizzly bears, using a revisitation analysis, analyzing residence time and revisits, to uncover spatio-temporal patterns in grizzly bear movement during the buffaloberry ripe period in British Columbia, and b) developing a spatial-temporal model to map the amount of time spent in areas that are known to support buffaloberry, and analyze the influence of bottom-up effects on site selection and top-down effects (like human impact, road distance, etc.) on the probability of bear use. This work will identify and extrapolate areas of importance that can be used to inform resource management decisions and industry practices. This research is at the cutting-edge of predictive modelling and will result in tangible products that can be used by provincial wildlife organizations and conservation groups to manage human access to brown bear habitat during critical seasons. This research will also contribute significantly to First Nation efforts to restore brown bear habitat and reintroduce the species in the Okanagan Valley and North Cascade Mountains of British Columbia. The approaches we develop for our research project, will be reproducible in any region where managing human access to bear habitat is a conservation and management priority.

The Elizabeth Grace Bivins Memorial Fund Fellowship awarded by the IBA will allow us to better understand the distribution, phenology and selection of key brown bear resources, which will help inform grizzly bear management, conservation and plans for reintroduction. This grant will allow us to conduct our data analysis and construct our models in a timely fashion. The grant will also enable the completion of a master’s thesis and will help to further brown bear conservation in British Columbia. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work in partnership and collaborate on grizzly bear conversation objectives with the IBA.

International Association for Bear Research and Management fRI Research Fellowship

IBA-SG 2020/21: Assessing human-sloth bear conflict: An approach to facilitate coexistence between humans and sloth bears in the Trijuga forest of East Nepal 

Principal Investigator: Manoj Pokharel
Udayapur, Nepal

Co-Investigators:
Dipa Rai, Department of Environmental Sciences GoldenGate International College Battisputali, Kathmandu, Nepal
Asmit Limbu, Central Campus of Technology Hattisar, Dharan, Nepal

Project Summary

The Trijuga forest of southeast Nepal is considered one of the major strongholds of sloth bear population in Nepal. The forest is located outside the network of protected areas and endures substantial anthropogenic pressure. This has led to the increased rates of human-sloth bear interactions that mostly result into human attacks by bears. Fear associated with the bears and the inability of local institutions to respond to such interactions have reduced the locals support necessary for bear conservation. Additionally, there is a paucity of systematic information on the patterns and processes of such attacks by bears, making it even harder to devise sound techniques for conflict mitigation.

Through this project, we plan to generate scientifically sound information on the patterns and processes of human-sloth bear conflict around the Trijuga forest. We would also assess the attitude of the local people and the socio-economic influences shaping their attitude towards the bears in this region. Inferences of this study would be used to educate the local communities, including the school students and forest officers to strengthen their ability to minimize and respond to human-sloth bear conflicts. Education program is further believed to enhance awareness among the locals, and will help in garnering their support for sloth bear conservation.

The grant provided by IBA will be used to interview the bear attack victims and carry out surveys to understand the social determinants of sloth bear conservation in the villages surrounding Trijuga forest. This study will be the first of its kind in Nepal targeted solely towards the sloth bear and we are grateful to IBA for making this happen.

International Association for Bear Research and Management fRI Research Fellowship

IBA-SG 2021/22: Assessing human-sloth bear conflict: An approach to facilitate coexistence between humans and sloth bears in the Trijuga forest of East Nepal 

Principal Investigator: Manoj Pokharel
Udayapur, Nepal

Co-Investigators:
Dipa Rai, Department of Environmental Sciences GoldenGate International College Battisputali, Kathmandu, Nepal
Asmit Limbu, Central Campus of Technology Hattisar, Dharan, Nepal

Project Summary

The Trijuga forest of southeast Nepal is considered one of the major strongholds of sloth bear population in Nepal. The forest is located outside the network of protected areas and endures substantial anthropogenic pressure. This has led to the increased rates of human-sloth bear interactions that mostly result into human attacks by bears. Fear associated with the bears and the inability of local institutions to respond to such interactions have reduced the locals support necessary for bear conservation. Additionally, there is a paucity of systematic information on the patterns and processes of such attacks by bears, making it even harder to devise sound techniques for conflict mitigation.

Through this project, we plan to generate scientifically sound information on the patterns and processes of human-sloth bear conflict around the Trijuga forest. We would also assess the attitude of the local people and the socio-economic influences shaping their attitude towards the bears in this region. Inferences of this study would be used to educate the local communities, including the school students and forest officers to strengthen their ability to minimize and respond to human-sloth bear conflicts. Education program is further believed to enhance awareness among the locals, and will help in garnering their support for sloth bear conservation.

The grant provided by IBA will be used to interview the bear attack victims and carry out surveys to understand the social determinants of sloth bear conservation in the villages surrounding Trijuga forest. This study will be the first of its kind in Nepal targeted solely towards the sloth bear and we are grateful to IBA for making this happen.

International Association for Bear Research and Management Elizabeth Grace Bivins Fuller Memorial Fellowship

IBA-SG 2020/21-01 and 2021/22 01:
Mapping the spatial and temporal distribution of buffaloberry to determine grizzly bear habitat selection.

Mackenzie Clarke, University of British Columbia MSc. Project
https://mackenziejclarke.weebly.com/

Supervisors and Committee:
Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais, University of British Columbia
Dr. Garth Mowat, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development
Dr. Lael Parrot, University of British Columbia
Dr. Clayton Lamb.University of British Columbia

Project Summary

In order to support brown bear (Ursus arctos) conservation in British Columbia, it is critical to understand factors influencing habitat selection and resource distribution. Our study is developing approaches to understand the human and environmental factors that influence brown bear use of key resources, like buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis), and predict how these factors influence space-time patterns of brown bear habitat use. Notably, this research combines data, including over a decade of GPS telemetry and vegetation plot data, from several independent studies across a massive longitudinal gradient in southern British Columbia, from the Coast Mountains to the Rocky Mountains. This research will focus on two objectives: a) creating a predictive map of buffaloberry selection by grizzly bears, using a revisitation analysis, analyzing residence time and revisits, to uncover spatio-temporal patterns in grizzly bear movement during the buffaloberry ripe period in British Columbia, and b) developing a spatial-temporal model to map the amount of time spent in areas that are known to support buffaloberry, and analyze the influence of bottom-up effects on site selection and top-down effects (like human impact, road distance, etc.) on the probability of bear use. This work will identify and extrapolate areas of importance that can be used to inform resource management decisions and industry practices. This research is at the cutting-edge of predictive modelling and will result in tangible products that can be used by provincial wildlife organizations and conservation groups to manage human access to brown bear habitat during critical seasons. This research will also contribute significantly to First Nation efforts to restore brown bear habitat and reintroduce the species in the Okanagan Valley and North Cascade Mountains of British Columbia. The approaches we develop for our research project, will be reproducible in any region where managing human access to bear habitat is a conservation and management priority.

The Elizabeth Grace Bivins Memorial Fund Fellowship awarded by the IBA will allow us to better understand the distribution, phenology and selection of key brown bear resources, which will help inform grizzly bear management, conservation and plans for reintroduction. This grant will allow us to conduct our data analysis and construct our models in a timely fashion. The grant will also enable the completion of a master’s thesis and will help to further brown bear conservation in British Columbia. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work in partnership and collaborate on grizzly bear conversation objectives with the IBA.

International Association for Bear Research and Management fRI Research Fellowship

IBA-SG 2020/21: Assessing human-sloth bear conflict: An approach to facilitate coexistence between humans and sloth bears in the Trijuga forest of East Nepal 

Principal Investigator: Manoj Pokharel
Udayapur, Nepal

Co-Investigators:
Dipa Rai, Department of Environmental Sciences GoldenGate International College Battisputali, Kathmandu, Nepal
Asmit Limbu, Central Campus of Technology Hattisar, Dharan, Nepal

Project Summary

The Trijuga forest of southeast Nepal is considered one of the major strongholds of sloth bear population in Nepal. The forest is located outside the network of protected areas and endures substantial anthropogenic pressure. This has led to the increased rates of human-sloth bear interactions that mostly result into human attacks by bears. Fear associated with the bears and the inability of local institutions to respond to such interactions have reduced the locals support necessary for bear conservation. Additionally, there is a paucity of systematic information on the patterns and processes of such attacks by bears, making it even harder to devise sound techniques for conflict mitigation.

Through this project, we plan to generate scientifically sound information on the patterns and processes of human-sloth bear conflict around the Trijuga forest. We would also assess the attitude of the local people and the socio-economic influences shaping their attitude towards the bears in this region. Inferences of this study would be used to educate the local communities, including the school students and forest officers to strengthen their ability to minimize and respond to human-sloth bear conflicts. Education program is further believed to enhance awareness among the locals, and will help in garnering their support for sloth bear conservation.

The grant provided by IBA will be used to interview the bear attack victims and carry out surveys to understand the social determinants of sloth bear conservation in the villages surrounding Trijuga forest. This study will be the first of its kind in Nepal targeted solely towards the sloth bear and we are grateful to IBA for making this happen.

International Association for Bear Research and Management fRI Research Fellowship

IBA-SG 2021/22: Assessing human-sloth bear conflict: An approach to facilitate coexistence between humans and sloth bears in the Trijuga forest of East Nepal 

Principal Investigator: Manoj Pokharel
Udayapur, Nepal

Co-Investigators:
Dipa Rai, Department of Environmental Sciences GoldenGate International College Battisputali, Kathmandu, Nepal
Asmit Limbu, Central Campus of Technology Hattisar, Dharan, Nepal

Project Summary

The Trijuga forest of southeast Nepal is considered one of the major strongholds of sloth bear population in Nepal. The forest is located outside the network of protected areas and endures substantial anthropogenic pressure. This has led to the increased rates of human-sloth bear interactions that mostly result into human attacks by bears. Fear associated with the bears and the inability of local institutions to respond to such interactions have reduced the locals support necessary for bear conservation. Additionally, there is a paucity of systematic information on the patterns and processes of such attacks by bears, making it even harder to devise sound techniques for conflict mitigation.

Through this project, we plan to generate scientifically sound information on the patterns and processes of human-sloth bear conflict around the Trijuga forest. We would also assess the attitude of the local people and the socio-economic influences shaping their attitude towards the bears in this region. Inferences of this study would be used to educate the local communities, including the school students and forest officers to strengthen their ability to minimize and respond to human-sloth bear conflicts. Education program is further believed to enhance awareness among the locals, and will help in garnering their support for sloth bear conservation.

The grant provided by IBA will be used to interview the bear attack victims and carry out surveys to understand the social determinants of sloth bear conservation in the villages surrounding Trijuga forest. This study will be the first of its kind in Nepal targeted solely towards the sloth bear and we are grateful to IBA for making this happen.

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