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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Identifying Public Attitudes Toward Recovery and Management of Black Bears in Alabama

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Michael Heneghan, Wayde Morse – Auburn University

Although black bear (Ursus americanus) populations in Alabama have been low since the early part of the 20th century, increased sightings over the past decade have facilitated discussion on restoring populations throughout the species native range in the state. The plans and actions of state and federal wildlife agencies should correspond to the values, desires and needs of the public that they represent. Specific management goals, like black bear recolonization, require a comprehensive understanding of public values and how these values influence attitudes and corresponding behaviors that may either help or hinder the efforts of wildlife management agencies. Limited research has been performed that aims at identifying the public’s preferred management actions in response to specific black bear conflict scenarios, considering both bear encounter type and frequency. We developed a mail in questionnaire for 3,000 randomly selected residents in two distinct regions of Alabama where natural black bear recovery is believed to be taking place. The objectives of the questionnaire are to (1) identify preferences for black bear management actions; (2) understand public concerns regarding human-bear conflict; (3) gauge the public’s willingness to change behavior in order to facilitate bear recovery; and (4) assess the level of knowledge on black bear biology and behavior among residents. Data will be analyzed in order to better understand the preferences and desires of Alabama residents as it pertains to black bear populations near their communities. Results of public preferences for management actions in response to specific bear-human encounter scenarios will be presented.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Ballroom Salon B

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