Resident Attitudes Toward Black Bears and Population Recovery in East Texas


Morzillo, Anita; Mertig, Angela G.; Garner, Nathan; Liu, Jianguo "Jack"

Journal or Book Title: Human Dimensions of Wildlife

Keywords: attitudes; black bear; recovery; threatened species; Ursus americanus luteolus; wildlife management

Volume/Issue: 12

Page Number(s): 417-428

Year Published: 2007


A successful species recovery relies on the support of local residents. Our goal was to assess attitudes toward black bears in a location where bears have not existed for several decades. We randomly surveyed East Texas residents to evaluate attitudes toward black bears and a potential bear population recovery. Positive attitudes toward bears were related to sex, age, participation in wildlife-related activities, residential tenure,
land ownership, and knowledge about bears. However, substantial proportions of respondents indicated uncertainty regarding their attitudes about black bears and more than one-third of residents were unsure as to whether they supported increasing the local bear population. Lack of knowledge about black bears was the most commonly noted reason for uncertainty. These results suggest that opportunities exist for managers to address existing concerns about bears, assist residents with learning more about bears, and possibly help minimize potential for bear–human conflict.

DOI: 10.1080/10871200701670110

Type of Publication: Journal Article