Grizzly Bear Conflict Mitigation and Movement Ecology

MS Thesis, Kari Eneas

As both human and grizzly bear populations continue to increase and expand within the Northern continental Divide Ecosystem, the need to address increasing management conflicts and concerns has developed. This study aims to quantify the effectiveness of electric fencing in mitigating conflicts between grizzly bears and small scale poultry and livestock producers in the Mission Valley within the Flathead Indian Reservation. These fences will be monitored during the study and compared with collar data to determine the success and effectiveness of the fencing in preventing further conflict.

The objectives of this multi-faceted project are:

  • Testing the effectiveness of electric fencing configurations in mitigating grizzly bear conflicts,
  • Exploring whether electric fencing around poultry operations causes a reaction in habitat selection of grizzly bears regarding this form of habitat manipulation;
  • Study the regional ecology of bear movements through the landscape in both the absence and presence of electric fencing of small scale poultry producers and small livestock (Flathead Valley, Mission Valley, and Swan Valley).
  • Incorporate human dimensions in an outreach and education component for grizzly bear awareness, working with public, landowners and stakeholders in education outreach, and trying to gain a better understanding to the resistance of using electric fencing.