Volume 85, Issue 3 p. 582-592
Research Article

Factors that Determine Human Acceptance of Black Bears

Matteo Cleary

Matteo Cleary

Oklahoma State University, 008C Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK, 74078 USA

Current affiliation: Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 7386 NW 71st St, Gainesville, FL 32653, USA

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Omkar Joshi

Corresponding Author

Omkar Joshi

Oklahoma State University, 008C Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK, 74078 USA

E-mail: [email protected]

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W. Sue Fairbanks

W. Sue Fairbanks

Oklahoma State University, 008C Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK, 74078 USA

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First published: 02 February 2021
Citations: 9

ABSTRACT

After being extirpated from their historical distribution, black bears (Ursus americanus) have recolonized eastern Oklahoma, USA. As bears continue to establish populations in the region, understanding the cognitive factors that influence human acceptance of black bears will play an important role in facilitating coexistence. We hypothesized that a variety of variables drawing from the cognitive hierarchy and risk perception frameworks would affect human acceptance of black bears in eastern Oklahoma. We collected data using a mail-back questionnaire administered to residents of eastern Oklahoma between August and November 2018. Perceptions of the current black bear population size, attitudes toward bears, valuing Oklahoma wildlife, behavioral intentions, and level of formal education all positively influenced acceptance of bears. Risk-averse respondents and women were less accepting. Outreach to women and encouraging residents to reduce conflict by adopting bear-safe behaviors may help raise acceptance capacity for black bears. © 2021 The Wildlife Society.