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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Landscape Characteristics Influencing Attitudes Towards Black Bears and Bear Hunting in Connecticut

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AUTHORS: Nicholas Yarmey*, Anita T. Morzillo – University of Connecticut; Jason Hawley, Rick Jacobson, Paul Rego – Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division

ABSTRACT: The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a generalist species that has been expanding its range in the northeastern US. Connecticut contains the nation’s highest proportion of wildland-urban interface (72% of land area) and fourth highest human population density. As a result, black bear range expansion across the largely exurban landscape of Connecticut has been accompanied by an increasing number of interactions between black bears and humans. To better understand the landscape-level dimensions of these interactions, a survey was used to collect data about human-black bear interactions across nine Connecticut towns with high human-black bear conflict density. The survey focused on resident’s attitudes towards black bears, past experiences of black bear interactions, and preferences for management actions as a result of interactions. We received 1315 completed surveys (response rate = 41%). Results suggest that despite the high rate of interactions with black bears in the area, attitudes towards the bears are generally favorable. In addition, more than half of respondents indicated support for regulated black bear hunting. Spatial analysis was used to describe the distribution of attitudes and support versus opposition to bear hunting across the landscape. Patterns in the clustering of similar responses were related to characteristics of the socio-ecological landscape (e.g. location on the urban-rural gradient, distance from forest edge, degree of habitat fragmentation) in order to account for the heterogeneity of attitudes. The results of this study will be used to guide management of human-black bear conflicts in a largely exurban context.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

Attendees (4)