Social factors mediating human–carnivore coexistence: Understanding thematic strands influencing coexistence in Central Romania
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Facilitating human–carnivore coexistence depends on the biophysical environment but also on social factors. Focusing on Central Romania, we conducted 71 semi-structured interviews to explore human–bear (Ursus arctos) coexistence. Qualitative content and discourse analysis identified three socially mediated thematic strands, which showed different ways in which perceived interactions between people, bears and the environment shape coexistence. The “landscape-bear strand” described perceptions of the way in which the landscape offers resources for the bear, while the “landscape-human strand” related to ways in which humans experience the landscape. The “management strand” related to the way bears was managed. All three strands highlight both threats and opportunities for the peaceful coexistence of people and bears. Management and policy interventions could be improved by systematically considering the possible effects of interventions on each of the three strands shaping coexistence. Future research should explore the relevance of the identified thematic strands in other settings worldwide.
KeywordsBrown bear Carnivore conservation Conflict mitigation Human–carnivore conflict Human–nature relationships
We are grateful to Hans Hedrich for conducting and translating all the interviews and we thank all respondents for their participation. The survey procedure was cleared by the ethics committee of Leuphana University Lueneburg. The project was funded by a grant of the International Association for Bear Research and Management to ID and a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to JF.
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