Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Local Support for Black Bear Recovery Strategies


April 18, 2010 - Author: Anita Morzillo; Angela G. Mertig; Jeffery W. Hollister; Nathan Garner; Jianguo "Jack" Liu

Journal or Book Title: Environmental Management

Keywords: American black bear; attitudes; conditional probability analysis; human bear conflict; human dimensions; population recovery; Ursus americanus; Wildlife management

Volume/Issue: 45

Page Number(s): 1299-1311

Year Published: 2010

There is global interest in recovering locally extirpated carnivore species. Successful efforts to recover Louisiana black bear in Louisiana have prompted interest in recovery throughout the species’ historical range. We evaluated support for three potential black bear recovery strategies prior to public release of a black bear conservation and management plan for eastern Texas, United States. Data were collected from 1,006 residents living in proximity to potential recovery locations, particularly Big Thicket National Preserve. In addition to traditional logistic regression analysis, we used conditional probability analysis to statistically and visually evaluate probabilities of public support for potential black bear recovery strategies based on socioeconomic characteristics. Allowing black bears to repopulate the region on their own (i.e., without active reintroduction) was the recovery strategy with the greatest probability of acceptance. Recovery strategy acceptance was influenced by many socioeconomic factors. Older and long-time local residents were most likely to want to exclude black bears from the area. Concern about the problems that black bears may cause was the only variable significantly related to support or non-support across all strategies. Lack of personal knowledge about black bears was the most frequent reason for uncertainty about preferred strategy. In order to reduce local uncertainty about possible recovery strategies, we suggest that wildlife managers focus outreach efforts on providing local residents with general information about black bears, as well as information pertinent to minimizing the potential for human–black bear conflict.

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9485-3

Type of Publication: Journal Article


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