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Bear study highlights public education and physical barriers to avoid conflict

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A recent study lead by Ozgun Emre Can from Oxford University may provide some invaluable lessons on reducing dingo-human conflict on Fraser Island.  The study which focuses on bears suggests a number of interventions that can be used by land managers.

Resolving human-dingo conflicts

Resolving human-dingo conflicts

Human-bear conflicts cause annoyance, financial losses, injuries, and even death to people. In poorer parts of the world, conflicts with bears can affect local economies. Retaliation against bears may threaten the future of small, s bear experts revealed that the problem is worsening in terms of severity of conflicts and their impact on bear conservation on all four continents inhabited by bears. However, the main drivers of conflict, and its manifestations, differ among bear species.

The authors of the paper reviewed human-bear conflict management plans from which they identified 10 categories of mitigating interventions that together comprise a ubiquitous bear conflict management toolbox. Within this toolbox, the peer-reviewed literature indicates heavy reliance on education and physical barriers for conflict mitigation.

In customizing these general approaches to local circumstances, it is important to be mindful of starkly varying geopolitical and social circumstances. The authors also concluded that there is a pressing need to improve transfer of knowledge from places with active empirical research on mitigation (especially North America), and adapting methodologies to other parts of the world. They saw little evidence of evaluation and adaptive management in the conflict plans. Failure to mitigate conflicts may reduce society’s tolerance of bears and diminish conservation efforts.

For more information, please check out the full paper: Can 2014 Bear conflict review

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