Nav: Home

Harvest of nuisance black bears in New Jersey reducing human-bear conflicts

November 28, 2016

LOGAN, UTAH, USA - Is there room for black bears in human-dominated New Jersey? According to Utah State University researchers, the answer is yes, but only with science-based strategic planning, comprehensive management and thorough public education.

"Our research indicates regulated harvest of this recovered black bear population represents a pragmatic tool to help control population growth and, when coupled with incident-response management and educational programming, reduced the number of nuisance bear reports because hunters are more likely to harvest those bears with a history of being a nuisance," says USU researcher Jarod Raithel.

In a paper published Nov. 29, 2016, in the Journal of Applied Ecology, Raithel and USU colleagues Lise Aubry and David Koons, along with Melissa Reynolds-Hogland of Montana-based Bear Trust International and Patrick Carr of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, discuss findings from a three-year analysis of NJDRW efforts and report the agency's nearly 35-year investment in bear research is paying off.

Nearly eradicated from the Garden State in the 1950s, later 20th century conservation efforts fostered a comeback and, by the early 2000s, some areas of New Jersey boasted bear densities on par with those of salmon-rich Alaska. But more bears meant more human-bear encounters and in 2003, New Jersey opted to lift its 33-year moratorium on black bear hunting.

Fortunately, NJDFW had the foresight, Raithel says, to invest in bear research early on.

"In 1981, NJDFW began compiling one of most comprehensive, long-term bear datasets in existence," says Raithel, a Presidential Doctoral Research Fellow in USU's Department of Wildland Resources and the USU Ecology Center. "The agency released the first Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy in 2010, which requires maintaining healthy bear numbers, while curbing untenable population growth and reducing human-wildlife conflicts."

Encounters between large carnivores and humans generate excitement and, at times, tragic conflict. Even so, says Raithel, these animals are increasingly recognized as indispensable contributors of fully functioning ecosystems.

"Extirpation of these carnivores can have far-reaching, unintended consequences for humans," he says. "Thus, their harvest is often viewed as detrimental to conservation - understandable given the relentless human persecution of large carnivores. Yet here, a well-regulated harvest may actually improve the probability that black bears will persist, because removing the 'problem' individuals more frequently than those that stay out of trouble may ultimately increase the cultural carrying-capacity of New Jersey residents who live and recreate alongside bears."

Raithel says current land in the United States designated for wildlife protection will not suffice to ensure the long-term viability of apex carnivores.

"That means we have to focus on the wildland-human interface, where people and predators cross paths and figure out how to co-exist," he says. "For New Jersey, managed harvest appears to provide a balance, ensuring bear preservation and protecting human welfare and property."

Utah State University

Related Conservation Articles:

Environmental groups moving beyond conservation
Although non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become powerful voices in world environmental politics, little is known of the global picture of this sector.
Hunting for the next generation of conservation stewards
Wildlife ecology students become the professionals responsible for managing the biodiversity of natural systems for species conservation.
Conservation research on lynx
Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Leibniz-FMP) discovered that selected anti-oxidative enzymes, especially the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD2), may play an important role to maintain the unusual longevity of the corpus luteum in lynxes.
New 'umbrella' species would massively improve conservation
The protection of Australia's threatened species could be improved by a factor of seven, if more efficient 'umbrella' species were prioritised for protection, according to University of Queensland research.
Trashed farmland could be a conservation treasure
Low-productivity agricultural land could be transformed into millions of hectares of conservation reserve across the world, according to University of Queensland-led research.
Bats in attics might be necessary for conservation
Researchers investigate and describe the conservation importance of buildings relative to natural, alternative roosts for little brown bats in Yellowstone National Park.
Applying biodiversity conservation research in practice
One million species are threatened with extinction, many of them already in the coming decades.
Making conservation 'contagious'
New research reveals conservation initiatives often spread like disease, a fact which can help scientists and policymakers design programs more likely to be taken up.
Helping conservation initiatives turn contagious
New research shows that conservation initiatives go viral, which helps scientists and policymakers better design successful programs more likely to be adopted.
Overturning the truth on conservation tillage
Conservation tillage does not lower yield in modern cropping systems.
More Conservation News and Conservation Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.