EVALUATION OF GRIZZLY BEAR (URSUS ARCTOS) MOVEMENT AND HABITAT USE IN RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN THE SWAN-CLEARWATER VALLEYS, MONTANA
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Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers
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- https://scholarworks.umt.edu/etd/4344; https://scholarworks.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5370&context=etd
- resource selection function; use-availability; vector-based analysis; roads; grizzly bear; movement
Animal response to anthropogenic features may be fine scale (e.g. changes in movement behavior) or large scale (e.g. landscape fragmentation). I collected locational data on 24 radio-instrumented grizzly bears in Northwest Montana. I used first order vector-based methods to examine grizzly bear movement and resting patterns around open forest roads and rural structures. I attribute grizzly bear locations with environmental and developmental variables and used logistic regression to model grizzly bear habitat selection. To evaluate local attitudes toward living with wildlife, I developed a mail-based survey to assess baseline resident attitude toward living with wildlife with emphasis to grizzly bears. Movement analysis suggested bears moved at higher velocities and rested less frequently in habitat adjacent to roads and structures. However, bears moved with greater sinuosity in habitats surrounding roads and we detected little difference in resting intervals proximate to roads and structures. Our top habitat selection models indicated good predictive performance. Human development features such as roads and structures had little influence over female or male habitat selection at the study area scale. Where grizzly habitat and human activity overlap, we recommend managers carefully consider access management and development to minimize mortality risk for grizzly bears. Survey respondents reported that their information on wildlife was mainly drawn from personal experience and respondent attitudes were generally favorable toward living with bears. Survey responses were most divided on tolerance of dangerous animals near places where people lived. Based on attitudes toward wildlife in the Seeley-Swan the most productive approach would be small scale projects that incorporate person to person collaboration to create local solutions for decreasing human-bear conflicts.