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3 January 2023 ‘It’s a people problem, not a goat problem.’ Mitigating human–mountain goat interactions in a Canadian Provincial Park
Josie V. Vayro, Emalee A. Vandermale, Courtney W. Mason
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Context. Wildlife viewing is a primary reason people visit parks and protected areas. However, high rates of visitation increase the potential for interactions between humans and wildlife. This close proximity of humans and wildlife can lead to habituation to human presence and pose a threat to both animals and humans.

Aims. We describe human–mountain goat interactions in Cathedral Provincial Park (CPP), in British Columbia (BC), Canada, and examine management and mitigation strategies to reduce these interactions.

Methods. This project was a collaboration with BC Parks. We used community-based participatory research methodologies, conducting interviews and surveys from July 2020 to November 2021 with park visitors, staff, and researchers.

Key results. Most respondents encountered mountain goats in the park and understood the park’s messaging; however, not all respondents took the necessary steps to reduce encounters. We recommend further education efforts focused on formal staff training and improved infrastructure in the park.

Conclusions. Our results can be used to inform management decisions related to human–wildlife interactions, primarily in parks and protected areas. On a proximate level, we suggest further educational efforts and improved infrastructure in the park to help overcome perceived lack of action by some participants. Ultimately, there is a need to incorporate human aspects of human–wildlife interactions into management decisions aimed at addressing potential and existing problems.

Implications. Using a multitude of approaches to management, informed by biological, social, and cultural knowledge, can improve responses and mitigation strategies in human–wildlife interactions. Collaboration among different stakeholders allows for the exchange of ideas and innovations that can contribute to positive movement towards coexistence of humans and wildlife in parks and recreational areas.

Josie V. Vayro, Emalee A. Vandermale, and Courtney W. Mason "‘It’s a people problem, not a goat problem.’ Mitigating human–mountain goat interactions in a Canadian Provincial Park," Wildlife Research 50(11), 911-926, (3 January 2023).
Received: 15 January 2022; Accepted: 6 December 2022; Published: 3 January 2023
BC Parks
community-based participatory research
conservation education
human perceptions of wildlife
human–animal interactions
mitigation strategies
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