CBC wildlife responses to recreation noise

Mule deer lit by infrared light looks vigilantly at the camera.

14 June 2024

Earlier this week ALWRI's Dr. Kathy Zeller was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC's) Torah Kachur about recently published research on wildlife responses to human-created noises associated with recreation activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and off-highway vehicle use. For this study, Dr. Zeller and RMRS co-author Mark Ditmer teamed up with USDA Forest Service and academic colleagues, deploying audio playback devices that broadcast recreation sounds when wildlife passed by remotely triggered cameras in the Bridger Teton National Forest. This experimental setup enabled them to identify the influence of noise alone and assess how wildlife respond based on different recreation group sizes, types of recreation, and to look for differences among species’ reactions. In response to noise, animals displayed varying levels of vigiliance, often fleeing entirely from the recorded area. CBC's Torah Kachur, reporting from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, remarks on the positive effects this response may have for recreationists who want to avoid bears, but also goes on to explain that the research was conducted primarily for land and wildlife managers who may be able to use the study's findings to help inform managment decisions. To learn more about the research, visit the team's project web page, and read the original article.