Aversive conditioning is simply creating a very negative experience for the offending animal, hoping that the negative experience will outweigh the positive rewards offered by the nuisance activity.

Responsibilities

In addition to aversive conditioning, Nuisance Wildlife Aversive Conditioning Biotechs:

  • Track nuisance wildlife incidents and patterns
  • Take nuisance wildlife reports
  • Perform visitor and employee education
  • Deal with food storage and wildlife feeding issues
  • Deal with overflowing trash issues in developed areas
  • Deploy bear traps if needed
  • Assist with capture/relocation operations
Black Bear

The Nuisance Wildlife Aversive Conditioning Bio-techs will transcribe nuisance wildlife calls from the Nuisance Wildlife Hotline (540.999.3490, option #3) and enter the data into a park-wide database. They will also conduct Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance and opportunistic sampling of road-killed deer.

Staff will perform aversive conditioning on nuisance black bear and beggar deer, primarily. Most of their work will occur in developed areas or along Skyline Drive. They will use the most light-handed technique possible to achieve the desired response (fear of humans) in the nuisance animal. Aversive conditioning works by establishing dominance over the nuisance animal. This works best when it is employed when an animal is in an early lingering mode or has just started to get conditioned to human food.

Nuisance Wildlife Reporting

  1. When you see early nuisance or lingering behavior in bear or deer, please use the Nuisance Wildlife Incident Form.
  2. Fill it out and report the information to the Aversive Conditioning Biotechs at the Nuisance Wildlife Hotline (540.999.3490, option #3).
  3. If you don’t have the time to fill out the form, call and use the questions to report via the hotline.

For more information, contact:

Rolf Gubler
Biologist
Shenandoah National Park
3655 US Hwy 211 East
Luray, VA 22835
(540) 999-3291 (w)
(540) 999-3693 (fax)

Download the:

Nuisance Wildlife Program Bear Incident Report form