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Mitigating human-black bear conflicts by understanding spatial patterns and associated site characteristics

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Conflict with humans poses a serious risk to the viability of carnivore populations worldwide. Identifying effective non-lethal management strategies demands an understanding of the interplay among multiple drivers of conflict at the scale of conflict situations. I quantified the spatial patterns of human-bear conflict in Whistler, Canada with utilization distributions of conflict incidents. I examined the strength of evidence for the effects of landscape and habitat variables associated with conflict using Resource Utilization Functions, Generalized Least Squares, and model selection. Seasonality emerged as a determinant of spatial variability of conflict with bears using more concentrated attractants in the fall than in the summer or spring. No covariates could be identified as drivers of conflict at a local scale despite the pressing need to design management interventions at this scale. This lack of predictability underscores the necessity for responsive adaptive management policies to reduce human-carnivore conflict in increasingly human-dominated landscapes.
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