How to scare carnivores? Instead of killing them or moving them, some US researchers think they can be driven out and kept away from population centers simply by lights and loud noises.
|Two gray wolves (Canis lupus) feed on the carcass of a deer that died in the snow.|
However, some nature conservation experts have proposed using less gory means that do not kill predators. An experiment was then performed on wild animals that fed on deer killed by cars.
Electronic guardrails. With robots activated by movement, emitting noises (including screams and sirens) or strong strobe lights when they "noticed" the presence of wild animals, the percentage of meat eaten by wolves or bears was much lower than when the animals were free to approach the carcass and eat freely. The only problem - which researchers are also aware of - is the cost: robots with sophisticated motion sensors are very expensive, but the technique has been considered promising mainly because it saves animals.
Lazy bears. The problem of danger does not arise with "urban" bears. In some areas of North America, in fact, bears living near homes are becoming lazy. According to research by the Wildlife Conservation Society published in the Journal of Zoology, black bear populations living in cities prefer to eat in dumps behind restaurants and shopping centers instead of looking for food in the forest. Compared to those who live in the wildest areas, they move about a third less and therefore, due to lack of movement, they become fatter. They move much more often at night to avoid men and hibernate much less, precisely because they have no food problems. The remedies (first of all bear-proof garbage deposits) are the first step towards the coexistence of men and bears.
(News updated December 5, 2003)