Black bear standing on fallen logs, alert and cautious.  Summer in northern Minnesota.jpg

Using food to divert animals from areas where they are unwanted or could cause conflicts with people

DIVERSIONARY FEEDING

Eagles Nest Township is home to one of the most comprehensive, long running scientific behavioral studies of black bears in the world.  Dr. Lynn Rogers Ph.D., one of the most prolific authors of peer-reviewed scientific articles on black bears, chose Eagles Nest Township because of its long history of feeding and peacefully coexisting with bears for over sixty years.  Known as the Jane Goodall of bears, he developed a trust-based method of collaring and changing batteries in GPS units by using a handful of nuts instead of tranquilizers which can injure or kill bears.

 

The study focuses on the bears of Eagles Nest Township, most of whom are descended from Shadow, a 34 year old resident black bear (Shadow's Family Tree).  Using airplanes, canoes, snowmobiles and snowshoes he has followed over 300 individual bears for over 30 years and has been able to develop a family tree of the generations of bears descended from Shadow.  Dr. Rogers' initial population study has developed into a broad-based study of behavior, ecology, hibernation, vocalizations, body language, social organization, physiology, and bear-human relations.

One of the many goals of this long-term study is to reduce bear-human conflict and find ways to coexist.  Never has education been so important. Bear habitat is shrinking worldwide. People will not coexist with an animal they fear.  The future of the bears that live around people depends upon knowledge and attitude of those humans. The need for accurate information about these animals is essential.

This video talks about diversionary feeding, locations where bears can find food when wild food is scarce. Bears, like all animals, eat to survive.  Hunger is the driving factor when wild foods are scarce due to drought, wildfires etc. Finding locations where they are welcomed keeps black bears out of trouble.  This study is in the Eagles Nest community. Enjoy this short video about the choices bears make to find food.