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The impacts unnatural foods have on hibernation and health in American Black Bears

dc.contributor.advisorLeitch, Mathew
dc.contributor.authorTowns, Jakub
dc.description.abstractAs humans encroach more and more into wild spaces, we will continue to see an increase in the negative impacts our lives have on those of the animals we share these spaces with. One of these ways is through our food. In humans, this food is safe, but in wildlife there are many harmful affects, whether it be through biological and health problems or behavioural changes. Specific impacts on wildlife can include a lack of proper nutrition, toxic materials in the food making them sick, increase the spread of disease if large groups are attracted to the same food source and injuring each other during competitive fights over the food source. One of the most well-known species attracted to man-made food sources is the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus.) This thesis will investigate the impacts of consuming unnatural food will have on the health of wild black bears, more specifically on their hibernation patterns and ultimately on the aging of their cells. Studies conducted on this topic have analyzed the length of telomeres, the structure that manages aging in cells, collected from adult female bears at different times of the year. These tests determined that when bears consume large quantities of unnatural food sources, the amount time spent hibernating decreases. Additionally, researchers have found links between a decrease in hibernation time and an increase in cellular aging as the telomeres begin to waste away quicker when hibernation is reduced. In conclusion, this research and others like it could help make people more aware of the harm providing wildlife with access to human food can be and assist in the development of methods to help mitigate these issues.en_US
dc.subjectBlack bear hibernationen_US
dc.subjectCellular aging & telomeresen_US
dc.subjectGut microbiome (black bear)en_US
dc.subjectWildlife & human food consumption (health effects)en_US
dc.subjectHuman food consumption & hibernationen_US
dc.titleThe impacts unnatural foods have on hibernation and health in American Black Bearsen_US
dc.typeThesisen_US Bachelor of Environmental Managementen_US Resources Managementen_US Universityen_US

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