Breaking down barriers to coexistence: Perspectives of North Shore residents on black bears, bear management, and coexistence-related education and policy

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Conflicts between humans and wildlife are expected to become more frequent as urbanization and human development expand. In urban and suburban regions near wildlife habitat, the presence of human food waste and other anthropogenic attractants can draw potentially dangerous wildlife such as black bears (Ursus americanus) into residential areas, which may result in harm to both humans and wildlife. There is a pressing need to improve management of attractants and reduce negative interactions with wildlife. In this research, conducted in partnership with the North Shore Black Bear Society, I interviewed residents on the North Shore of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, to investigate their perspectives on black bears and bear management, management of bear attractants, coexistence-related education, and regulatory policy. I make recommendations to improve education programs, management of attractants, bear reporting, and bylaw design and enforcement, and to build social capital and trust in support of these initiatives.
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