News Release

Coexistence and conflict between humans and bears

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Grizzly Bear

image: A grizzly bear traversing a human-dominated landscape in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada view more 

Credit: Image credit: Clayton T. Lamb.

Researchers examine coexistence between humans and brown bears in shared landscapes. As natural habitats disappear, wildlife, including large carnivores, increasingly live among human settlements. To determine behavioral and demographic factors that support carnivore coexistence with people, Clayton Lamb and colleagues examined coexistence between humans and brown bears, one of the most conflict-prone and widely distributed carnivores. The authors examined data collected from 1979 to 2019 on the demography, habitat use, mortality rates, and movement of 2,669 brown bears over a 378,191-km2 area in and near British Columbia, Canada. Human impact on the landscape was measured using satellite imagery. Bears were found living in human-dominated areas, which provided rich food sources, such as highway roadkill, fruit trees, and abundant natural foods derived from land clearing. Humans were the primary cause of bear mortality, and young bears faced high mortality rates in human-dominated landscapes. However, as they aged, some bears adopted nocturnal behaviors, which increased their chances of survival and reduced conflict with humans. Persistence of bears in human-dominated landscapes was possible due to migration of bears from wilderness areas. The findings suggest that connected wilderness as well as bears' ability to adopt nocturnal behaviors are imperative to the coexistence of humans and bears, according to the authors.

Article #19-22097: "The ecology of human-carnivore coexistence," by Clayton T. Lamb et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Clayton T. Lamb, University of British Columbia, CANADA; email:


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