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Recently several researchers have tested aversive conditioning as a method of reducing damage and discouraging approach by carnivores. This paper discusses some general biological considerations in the application of aversive conditioning. Its effectiveness as a control technique will depend, in part, on the characteristics of the wildlife species involved (for example, social organization, individual and species behavior, feeding strategy, annual mortality, and movement); characteristics of the resource being protected (for example, whether it constitutes prey, carrion, space, etc. to the predator, and its desirability and necessity to the predator); and the selection of appropriate aversive stimuli and substrates. Appropriate tests of aversive conditioning are discussed. Specific situations are detailed where aversive conditioning might be most valuable in the control of problem wildlife.
vertebrate pest control, aversive conditioning, predators
Head, Zoology Section, Plant Industry Laboratory, Alberta Agriculture, Edmonton, Alberta
Wildlife research biologist, Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Recreation, Parks, and Wildlife, Edmonton, Alberta