Alaskan brown bears, humans, and habituation

By: , and 



We present a new paradigm for understanding habituation and the role it plays in brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations and interactions with humans in Alaska. We assert that 3 forms of habituation occur in Alaska: bear-to-bear, bear-to-human, and human-to-bear. We present data that supports our theory that bear density is an important factor influencing a bear’s overt reaction distance (ORD); that as bear density increases, overt reaction distance decreases, as does the likelihood of bear– human interactions. We maintain that the effects of bear-to-bear habituation are largely responsible for not only shaping bear aggregations but also for creating the relatively safe environment for bear viewing experienced at areas where there are high densities of brown bears. By promoting a better understanding of the forces that shape bear social interactions within populations and with humans that mingle with them, we can better manage human activities and minimize bear–human conflict.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Alaskan brown bears, humans, and habituation
Series title Ursus
DOI 10.2192/1537-6176(2005)016[0001:ABBHAH]2.0.CO;2
Volume 16
Issue 1
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher International Association for Bear Research and Management
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1
Last page 10
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Katmai National Park, McNeil River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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