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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Grizzly bear (Ursus arctus) management and mortality distribution along the administrative boundaries of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Dean, Carrie Saviers

Abstract

Maintenance of wide-ranging mammal species in protected areas often requires management beyond reserve administrative boundaries. This thesis examines the relationship between cross-boundary management of a grizzly bear population and the distribution of humancaused mortality in that population. Concurrent analyses of grizzly bear management practices and human-caused grizzly bear mortality distribution were conducted along the administrative boundaries of Waterton- Glacier International Peace Park (WGIPP) in Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia. From 1976-1997, the concentration of mortality was significantly greater outside the park than inside it. In addition, non-park mortality density was higher within 10 km of the park boundary than in areas 20-50 km from the boundary. Analysis of management policies and practices suggests that comprehensive preventative bear-human conflict management and more conservative legal harvest in the parks have resulted in lower mortality levels compared with outlying lands. Outside the park, dispersing bears and/or gradients in habitat quality may be responsible for higher mortality adjacent to the park boundary. Contrasts and interactions in management between the park and its surrounding jurisdictions may also render bears in the boundary region more susceptible to human-caused mortality by increasing gateway development and numbers of habituated bears. More detailed boundary analysis is needed in several locations to determine how management is influencing humancaused bear mortality patterns. Once this has been accomplished, a system of customised buffer zoning is recommended that incorporates a variety of prescribed management changes in each jurisdiction in effort to reduce mortality adjacent to Waterton -Glacier's boundary.

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