Acceptance of North Carolinians for Strategies to Manage Human-black Bear Interactions

In North Carolina, black bear (Ursus americanas) and human populations have steadily increased between 1971 and 2001. To test the hypotheses that acceptability of bear management actions varied in different management contexts and was dependent on respondents' sex, participation in hunting, and knowledge of black bears, we surveyed North Carolina residents in 2005. We asked questionnaire recipients about the acceptability of educating the public on dealing with bear problems, frightening a bear with tools such as rubber bullets or fireworks, or destroying a bear in the following situations: a bear is sighted in a residential area, a bear chases a pet in a residential area, a bear attempts to enter a person's home, or a bear, unprovoked, injures a human. The mean acceptability of educating the public decreased with situations that were more threatening to humans, while destroying the bear became more acceptable with the higher the threat to people. There were differences in acceptability based on respondents' sex, participation in hunting, and current knowledge of black bears, with men, hunters, and those with less self-assessed knowledge of black bears having higher mean acceptance of lethal wildlife management than their counterparts. Our results indicate that lethal wildlife management actions will be more acceptable, and non-lethal actions (e.g., educating the public) less acceptable, when human safety is threatened. Key

Starting page
27
Ending page
31
ID
77185