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Studies on the Human Dimensions of Black Bear Management in Japan

  • Ryo Sakurai
Chapter
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)

Abstract

Human-bear conflicts are one of the most serious human-wildlife issues in Japan. Every few years, when there is a lack of natural foods, Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) appear in massive numbers near human settlements. In the past, this has resulted in thousands of bears being captured and killed, while hundreds of people have been injured in bear attacks. A series of human dimensions studies were conducted in Japan regarding black bear management. First, a study on content analysis was conducted to identify the characteristics of media coverage in Japan regarding black bear issues. The study revealed that a majority of newspaper articles regarding bears discussed problematic interactions, such as the fear felt by people toward bears. Second, interviews of local residents were conducted at one study site (Tajima region; northern part of Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan) to better understand the residents’ perception of bears; the interviews were analyzed qualitatively. While many local residents expressed negative feelings and hatred toward bears, the interviews also revealed other aspects of human-bear interactions. Many people in the community considered the bears as their neighbors in the mountain. Third, surveys of local residents were conducted to better understand not only their perception of the bears but also the degree of actions taken to prevent damage by bears. Based on quantitative analysis, the surveys revealed that although bear-induced damage experienced by two towns in Tajima region was similar, the rate of reporting and taking actions to prevent further damage was significantly lower in one town (Tanto) than in the other (Kami). Finally, research was conducted to evaluate the effects of a community bear education seminar and to identify the potential for, as well as the limitations of, changing peoples’ behaviors through educational means. A pre-post survey identified that actions requiring significant manpower were difficult for local residents to adhere to, even though they had intentions to follow through immediately after the seminar.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryo Sakurai
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Policy ScienceRitsumeikan UniversityOsakaJapan

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