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Monday, January 29 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
CARNIVORES: Public Preferences for Management Actions in Response to Various Black Bear – Human Interactions

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AUTHORS. Jordan Petchenik, Robert H. Holsman, Lauren Bradshaw, David MacFarland - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. We conducted a survey to inform the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ bear management program on the public’s preferred management response to various black bear - human interactions. Wisconsin’s black bear (Ursus americanus) population has increased five-fold since the early 1980s. In conjunction with bear population growth, their range has expanded from the less-populated forested northern counties into the central and western (and more populated) counties. A consequence of the range expansion and growth in numbers has been an increase in black bear – human interactions; nuisance complaints and agriculture damage has risen.We measured the public’s support or opposition towards five management actions in response to three different black bear - human interaction scenarios. Results are based on data generated from a questionnaire mailed to 5,700 residents within primary bear range and data generated from an online panel of 600 residents of the eastern non-bear range. Our results indicate that perceived abundance of bears in the respondents’ home county, willingness to live near bears and preference for bear population size were all correlated with where respondents grew up (urban or rural setting), affiliation with agriculture and experience with bear damage. The public consistently preferred a trap-and-relocate response over four other actions ranging from doing nothing to killing the bear, regardless of the type of conflict described in the scenarios. Results generally support the status quo with respect to the agency’s handling of bear nuisance complaints.

Monday January 29, 2018 3:40pm - 4:00pm
103B

Attendees (2)