Wildlife management personnel often transport human food-conditioned (FC) bears (Ursidae) from developed areas (areas with high human-use) to undeveloped areas to reduce the number of bear incidents and property damage in developed areas. Our goal was to determine if American black bears (Ursus americanus) return to developed areas after being transported to undeveloped areas in Yosemite National Park. Using capture records (1992–2011) for 29 bears transported in 2006–08, we determined if FC (n = 20) and not human food-conditioned (NFC; n = 9) bears were equally likely to return to developed areas following transport. We also reported the fate of these transported bears through 2011. We found that FC bears were more likely to return to developed areas than NFC bears. Of the 16 returning bears, 15 were FC (9 juveniles, 6 adults) and one was NFC. The other 8 NFC bears were never reported as entering developed areas, and no NFC bears were reported as killed. By 2011, 65% of FC bears (13 of 20) were euthanized by wildlife management personnel (n = 10) or harvested near developed areas (n = 3). We recommend that Yosemite National Park discontinue the transport of FC bears and consider removing problem bears from the population.
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Vol. 24 • No. 2