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1 March 2006 Stakeholder Perceptions of Risk Associated with Human–Black Bear Conflicts in New York's Adirondack Park Campgrounds: Implications for Theory and Practice
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Abstract

New York State's Adirondack Park is home to an estimated 6,000 black bears (Ursus americanus), about 75% of the state's total population. Human–bear interactions at the Park's nearly 100 campgrounds are commonplace. Some interactions are conflicts that include risks to personal safety and property damage. Between 19 June 2003 and 18 August 2003, we interviewed 54 Adirondack Park campers and caretakers at 7 campgrounds to determine stakeholder-perceived risks. We structured interviews to assess 9 possible constructs influencing risks not yet reported in the literature for human–bear conflicts from campground stakeholders' perspectives: volition of exposure; certainty; feelings of dread; perceived frequency of exposure to risk; responsiveness of black bear managers; trust in black bear managers; familiarity of risk; natural causes of risk; and control over risk. Overall, perceived risk associated with human–bear conflict was low. Evidence-based analysis revealed 8 of 9 constructs to be salient. We characterized salient constructs according to camper and caretaker perspectives. Caretakers had a higher risk perception than campers. Using camper comments as a foundation, we classified groups of constructs as agency capacity/responsiveness (i.e., incorporating volition, trust, and responsiveness of wildlife managers), and individual capacity/knowledge (i.e., incorporating perceived certainty, dread, and frequency, control over exposure to risks associated with black bears, and magnitude or acuteness of exposure to risks associated with black bears). With additional confirmatory analysis, these constructs and methodology may have the potential to increase understanding of risk perceptions associated with human–bear conflict and inform the content and format of strategic management plans incorporating risk management and communication.

MEREDITH L. GORE, BARBARA A. KNUTH, PAUL D. CURTIS, and JAMES E. SHANAHAN "Stakeholder Perceptions of Risk Associated with Human–Black Bear Conflicts in New York's Adirondack Park Campgrounds: Implications for Theory and Practice," Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(1), (1 March 2006). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[36:SPORAW]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 March 2006
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