Tom S Smith

Tom S Smith
Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus | BYU · Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences

PhD

About

45
Publications
33,468
Reads
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950
Citations
Introduction
Research interests include human-bear conflict, bear ecology, and technologies to address HBCs (e.g., LiDAR, electric fencing, FLIR). I work with polar, black, brown and sloth bears on a variety of levels. Very rewarding work!

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Full-text available
Supplemental food from anthropogenic sources is a source of conflict with humans for many wildlife species. Food-seeking behaviours by black bears Ursus americanus and brown bears Ursus arctos can lead to property damage, human injury and mortality of the offending bears. Such conflicts are a well-known conservation management issue wherever people...
Presentation
Full-text available
Several studies have documented the effectiveness of bear spray in protecting users from aggressive bears. However, bear spray failures have also been reported along with speculation regarding the influences of temperature, wind, repeated canister use, and canister age on spray efficacy. We designed lab and field experiments to document the influen...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have documented the effectiveness of bear spray in protecting users from aggressive bears. Bear spray failures, however, have also been reported along with speculation regarding the influences of temperature, wind, repeated canister use, and canister age on spray efficacy. We designed lab and field experiments to document the influe...
Chapter
The media and scientific literature are increasingly reporting an escalation of large carnivore attacks on humans, mainly in the so-called developed countries, such as Europe and North America. Although large carnivore populations have generally increased in developed countries, increased numbers are not solely responsible for the observed rise in...
Article
Full-text available
Timing of births in ungulates is influenced by ecological factors, and differences in seasonality of births have evolutionary implications for these mammals. Birthing habitat is one of the most important home-range attributes for ungulates, and disturbances during this time can decrease survival of young and population growth. We calculated timing...
Article
Full-text available
Denned polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are invisible under the snow, therefore winter-time petroleum exploration and development activities in northern Alaska have potential to disturb maternal polar bears and their cubs. Previous research determined forward looking infrared (FLIR) imagery could detect many polar bear maternal dens under the snow, bu...
Article
Full-text available
Monitoring dispersal, habitat use, and social mixing of released ungulates is crucial for successful translocation and species conservation. We monitored 127 female bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) released in three populations from 2000 to 2009 to investigate if augmented bighorns expanded and shifted seasonal ranges, used different habitat compare...
Article
ContextHuman activity in wildlands can influence wildlife populations by decreasing or degrading habitat, decreasing survival, or through displacement. For bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), some human activities are detrimental and may result in physiological stress, altered activity budgets, or habitat abandonment. From 1979 to 2000, human recreati...
Article
Full-text available
Although bear-inflicted (Ursus spp.) human fatalities are rare in North America, human injuries, property damage, and bear mortalities occur wherever bears and humans commingle. We investigated the efficacy of portable electric fencing systems for bear deterrence under a variety of environmental conditions in the lab and field. Our results showed t...
Poster
Full-text available
Abstract The purpose of this work was to address common misconceptions about the effectiveness of bear spray for polar bear deterrence. We address the three main barriers to spray use in polar bear country: 1) no chemicals can stop an attacking polar bear, 2) the wind and temperature in the Arctic render spray deterrents useless, and 3) it is usefu...
Article
Full-text available
We present an analysis of human–bear (Ursus spp.) conflicts that occurred in Alaska, USA, from 1880 to 2015. We collected 682 human–bear conflicts, consisting of 61,226 data entries, from various sources available to us. We found that human–bear attacks are rare events, averaging 2.6/year across the study period, though increasing to 7.6/year in th...
Article
Synchrony between reproduction and food availability is important in mammals due to the high energetic costs of gestation and lactation. Female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) must accumulate sufficient energy reserves during spring through autumn to produce and nurse cubs during the winter months in snow dens. Adequate time in a den is important to...
Article
Full-text available
Feral horses (Equus callabus) occur throughout the world on all continents except Antarctica. In North America, feral horses occupy 31.6 million acres throughout western North America. Throughout their range, feral horses often share habitat with American pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). Since horses are larger and more aggressive than pronghorn,...
Article
Understanding the timing of den emergence and departure allows management agencies to establish hunting seasons that minimize the take of females with dependent young, protects denned bears from human disturbances, and extends our understanding of the ecology of these mammals. We determined the mean den emergence date (x = 25 Mar), the number of da...
Article
Full-text available
Conflict between black bears (Ursus americanus) and humans has occurred in Utah, but the records are largely incomplete. To document these events, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources initiated a black bear sightings and encounters database in 2003, and we updated it. From 2003–2013, there were 224 recorded events, with 10 attacks, 208 property...
Article
In response to a changing climate, many species alter habitat use. Polar bears Ursus maritimus in the southern Beaufort Sea have increasingly used land for maternal denning. To aid in detecting denning behavior, we developed an objective method to identify polar bear denning events using temperature sensor data collected by satellite-linked transmi...
Article
Full-text available
Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) often die from respiratory disease after commingling with domestic sheep. From 2000 to 2009, we observed commingling between domestic and reintroduced bighorn sheep in 3 populations in UT, USA. We investigated how commingling affected survival of radio-collared female bighorns that were released initially (founder) a...
Article
Full-text available
Female polar bears construct maternal dens in snowdrifts in autumn. Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) has been used to locate dens to prevent disruption of denning by human activities, but the results have been mixed. To identify limitations and optimal conditions for locating dens, we took handheld FLIR images of three artificial dens under varied c...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout their circumpolar range, pregnant female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) create snow dens in which they give birth to altricial cubs. Because polar bear neonates are born in such an undeveloped state, their survival requires a long, undisturbed period of in-den development. To mitigate human impacts on denning bears, it is necessary to und...
Article
We measured American black bear (Ursus americanus) responses to hikers, small power skiffs, kayakers, and overnight campsites within coastal salt marsh foraging areas. To accomplish this, we experimentally approached bears in the intertidal and supratidal zones of Aialik Bay (AB) and Nuka Bay (NB), Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. We chose these...
Article
Full-text available
We compiled, summarized, and reviewed 269 incidents of bear-human conflict involving firearms that occurred in Alaska during 1883-2009. Encounters involving brown bears (Ursus arctos; 218 incidents, 81%), black bears (Ursus americanus; 30 incidents, 11%), polar bears (Ursus maritimus; 6 incidents, 2%), and 15 (6%) unidentified species provided insi...
Article
Full-text available
In March 2009, we documented the death of one member of a triplet polar bear (Ursus maritimus) litter at its den site in the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) of Alaska. We used a self-contained video camera unit to document activity between den emergence and departure. All three cubs showed low activity levels relative to other cubs observed, and one di...
Article
Full-text available
At least 63 people were killed in 59 incidents by non-captive black bear (Ursus americanus) during 1900–2009. Fatal black bear attacks occurred in Canada and Alaska (n = 49) and in the lower 48 states (n = 14). There were 3.5 times as many fatal attacks in Canada and Alaska but only 1.75 times as many black bears, and much less human contact for bl...
Article
Full-text available
We present a comprehensive look at a sample of bear spray incidents that occurred in Alaska, USA, from 1985 to 2006. We analyzed 83 bear spray incidents involving brown bears (Ursus arctos; 61 cases, 74%), black bears (Ursus americanus; 20 cases, 24%), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus; 2 cases, 2%). Of the 72 cases where persons sprayed bears to de...
Article
The increasing popularity of brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing at Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska has resulted in overcrowded facilities, increasing bear-human conflicts, displacement of bears from important habitats, and degradation of cultural resources. To partially address these issues, the National Park Service (NPS) constructed a...
Article
Full-text available
We present a new paradigm for understanding habituation and the role it plays in brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations and interactions with humans in Alaska. We assert that 3 forms of habituation occur in Alaska: bear-to-bear, bear-to-human, and human-to-bear. We present data that supports our theory that bear density is an important factor influe...
Article
Shoreline areas provide early season foraging opportunities for coastal bears in Alaska. We investigated use by brown bears (Ursus arctos) of soft-shelled (Mya arenaria) and Pacific razor (Siliqua patula) clams at Katmai National Park, Alaska, USA, to identify the potential importance of these clams to bears. We used direct observations of bear for...
Article
Full-text available
We present a database application designed to standardize the collection and entry of brown and black bear (Ursus arctos and U. americanus)–human interaction data, formalize data storage methods, and analyze patterns of bear–human interactions in Alaska's National Parks. The National Park Service Alaska Region Bear–Human Information Management Syst...
Article
Full-text available
We observed polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternity den sites on Alaska's North Slope in March 2002 and 2003 in an effort to describe bears' post-den emergence behavior. During 40 sessions spanning 459 h, we observed 8 adults and 14 dependent cubs outside dens for 37.5 h (8.2% of total observation time). There was no significant difference between d...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing has increased in coastal Alaska and British Columbia, as well as in interior areas such as Yellowstone National Park. Viewing is most often being done under conditions that offer acceptable safety to both people and bears. We analyze and comment on the underlying processes that lead brown bears to tolerat...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing has increased in coastal Alaska and British Columbia, as well as in interior areas such as Yellowstone National Park. Viewing is most often being done under conditions that offer acceptable safety to both people and bears. We analyze and comment on the underlying processes that lead brown bears to tolerat...
Article
Recently, brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing has increased in coastal Alaska and British Columbia, as well as in interior areas such as Yellowstone National Park. Viewing is most often being done under conditions that offer acceptable safety to both people and bears. We analyze and comment on the underlying processes that lead brown bears to tolerat...
Article
The increasing popularity of brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing at Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska has resulted in overcrowded facilities, increasing bear‐human conflicts, displacement of bears from important habitats, and degradation of cultural resources. To partially address these issues, the National Park Service (NPS) constructed a...
Article
Full-text available
Brown bear-human interactions were observed in 1993, 1995, and 1997 at Kulik River in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. We analyzed these interactions using survival analysis, creating survival curves for the time that bears rema ined on the river in the presence, and absence, of human activity. Bear-only survival curves did not vary signi...
Article
Full-text available
We describe several encounters between Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) and Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) that were observed at Katmai National Park and Preserve in southwest Alaska. Katmai Brown Bears and Gray Wolves were observed interacting in a variety of behavioral modes that ranged from agonistic to tolerant. These observations provide additional insig...
Article
I systematically observed brown bear (Ursus arctos) and human activity on a sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) stream in Katmai National Park during fall 1993 and 1995. More than 700 hours of observations were used to determine the temporal and spatial use patterns by people and bears as well as the frequency, nature, and outcome of bear-human int...
Article
Prescribed burning and timber harvesting have been used to restore and maintain Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (avis canadensis) ranges. Intensive study of a bighorn sheep herd in northeastern Utah indicated a need for range improvements. To evaluate the effectiveness of clear-cut logging and prescribed burning, we documented sheep responses to these...
Article
Full-text available
Several habitat evaluation procedures have been developed for bighorn sheep. However, none of these procedures specifically addresses the Rocky Mountain subspecies nor analyzes both the quantity and quality of potential bighorn habitat with regard to minimum viable population (MVP) criteria. This bighorn habitat evaluation procedure combines (1) a...

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Project (1)
Project
Refine bear safety messaging and ultimately reduce the frequency of bear attacks.