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Widegren, Ida, 2020. Träning och test med hund på brunbjörn (Ursus arctos) i hägn : långsiktiga effekter på beteenderepertoaren. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



The main cause of adult Brown bear (Ursus arctos) mortality in Sweden is due to legal hunting and
there has been a game culture for this specie since 1943. Today there is two game enclosures for
brown bears located in Sweden, one in Almunge and one in Junsele. The main reason for training
dogs on bears in these enclosures is to ensure bear-safe dogs both for encounters when tracking
bears that been wounded due to hunting or accidents, for bear hunting and in case of bear encounters
when hunting other game species in bear-tight areas. Although the ideas would be favourable for
either the safety of the hunters and their dogs or the welfare of potentially injured wild bears, the
welfare of the animals used in these operations must be taken into consideration.

In Chapter 3 1§ p.1 of the Swedish Animal Protection Act it states that it is forbidden to use
animals in training or tests in such a way that they are subject to suffering. In 2019, a government
assignment came to the Swedish National Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Environmental
Protection Agency to investigate whether training for pre-trial and predatory tests in game fences
will cause suffering for the animals involved. This pointed out that there was a need for studies
within the subject and this study is carried out in collaboration with SCAW without any connection
to the mentioned government assignment. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects on the
behaviour of fenced bears after being exposed to training/test with dogs. This was made to give an
insight into the welfare of the bears from an ethological perspective.

Results showed that the inactive behaviours had the highest proportion of observations
throughout the study for all three bears. It also showed that one of the individuals performed
stereotypic behaviour, pacing, before and after exposure but not during control observations. There
was a connection between stereotypic behaviour and whether a training/test had been carried out. A
pattern was seen between proportion of observations of stereotypic behaviour and number of
trainings/tests that same day. Active behaviours were most frequent on the day with the highest
number of trainings/tests and the proportion of observations of inactive behaviours increased with
the number of trainings/tests. A conclusion was made that the behaviour was affected by the number
of trainings/tests to some extent. There was also a pattern for fence usage and training/test under the
conditions that the bears were not disturbed more than normally. Lastly the results showed that
humans and more than one dog at the same time resulted in a stronger stress response than usually
observed and the results exhibited an individuality in the experience and eventual stress management
after exposure.

The study showed that behaviors that correspond to stress and negative experiences of exercise
were noted in the study, which indicates that there are welfare problems. Training with dogs on wild
animals that subject the animal to stress can cause suffering, based on the above study this cannot
be ruled out. To be able to understand with greater certainty how training / test occasions with dogs
affect the well-being of bears, more studies on the behavior and physiological stress response of
bears are needed. Research should also be devoted to exploring different alternatives to live animals.
Keywords: Ursus arctos, brown bear, dog, dog training, behaviour, stress, welfare, natural behaviour

Main title:Träning och test med hund på brunbjörn (Ursus arctos) i hägn
Subtitle:långsiktiga effekter på beteenderepertoaren
Authors:Widegren, Ida
Supervisor:Åsbjer, Elina and Anderson, Claes and Lindsjö, Johan
Examiner:Loberg, Jenny
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK005 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme, 180.0hp
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:ursus arctos, brunbjörn, hund, hundträning, beteende, stress, välfärd
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Deposited On:17 Jul 2020 10:27
Metadata Last Modified:18 Jul 2020 01:01

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