Effects of Reducing Access to Anthropogenic Foods on Conflicts Between Humans and Grizzly Bears in Western Montana

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Biological Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Neil Carter


The growth of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) populations in the past 50 years in western Montana have resulted in a greater likelihood of conflicts with humans. In 2016 Montana implemented Food Storage Orders (FSO; e.g., bear proof trash cans) across 17 county areas to reduce bear access to anthropogenic foods and avoid negative bear-human interactions. However, it is unknown whether, and to what extent, those interventions are reducing conflicts. To measure the efficacy of FSOs we used a Bayesian analytical approach to compare trends in bear-human conflict pre and post FSOs. These trends in conflict were based on georeferenced data on bear nuisance complaints and human-caused bear mortalities. Assessing the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of conservation policies, allows for better allocation of state and federal resources. This analysis serves as an example of how to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of policy to reduce threats to human livelihood and promote the conservation of a large carnivore.

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