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Acceptability of Management Actions and the Potential for Conflict Following Human-Black Bear Encounters
- Heneghan, Michael D., Morse, Wayde C.
- Society & natural resources 2019 v.32 no.4 pp. 434-451
- Ursus americanus, attitudes and opinions, protocols, rural areas, surveys, wildlife management, Alabama
- Despite low numbers for the past century, black bear (Ursus americanus) populations in Alabama appear to be growing. There are often strong emotional reaction and public disagreement toward how wildlife management agencies respond to human-bear encounters. We used data from a mail in survey (n = 564) distributed to residents of two distinct regions of Alabama to examine the acceptance of five common black bear management strategies in response to specific human-bear encounter scenarios. We applied the second generation Potential for Conflict Index (PCI2) to estimate the potential for social conflict which may arise due to dissenting opinions toward bear management strategies. Potential for conflict varied according to severity and frequency of the bear encounter and severity of management actions and was greater in rural areas. We recommend managers create standardized bear management protocols and a human-bear encounter classification system to maintain consistency and limit negative public reaction to management techniques.