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Bear Release in Nevada Includes Aversive Conditioning [VIDEO]

Nevada Department of Wildlife

This bear was harassed, chased by bear dogs, treed and shot in the butt with a rubber bullet, all for its own good.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife captured a cinnamon colored black bear in Jack’s Valley, about six miles south of Carson City. The NDW determined the bear to be a potential problem bear because it had exhibited an interest in ranch livestock in the area.

They later conducted a bear release that included some interesting methods in an attempt to further persuade the bear to avoid human areas.

Officials believe the region’s ongoing drought may create a situation where bears move into new territories, including areas inhabited by humans, in search of food. They subsequently treat potential problem bears with a form of aversion therapy. Biologist Carl Lackey said, “We got to this bear early during its conflict behavior and we have a chance of keeping him alive and wild with aversive conditioning. Without early intervention in the bear’s conflict behavior, this bear could have become a dangerous bear, perhaps killing livestock or breaking into dwellings.”

The bear was released into a rural area of Jack’s Valley. As part of its aversive conditioning the bear was shot in the rear with a rubber slug, chased by Karelian bear dogs (a Finnish breed of dog prized for its speed and fearlessness), treed  and harassed in order to, according to NDW, make the bear’s associations and experience with humans as unpleasant as possible.

Nevada Department of Wildlife
Nevada Department of Wildlife

The video shows the bear’s release back into the wild, with shots being fired and the dogs chasing it as it runs off. Department officials said they are preparing for a busy summer with bears this year.

Images via John Humphrey

Bear Release in Nevada Includes Aversive Conditioning [VIDEO]