Conservation of bears is a challenge globally. In Japan, Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) are considered a nuisance because of agricultural and property damage and personal human danger due to occasional human casualties. Reduction of human–bear conflicts in Japan would improve long-term conservation of bears and reduce risks to human health and safety. To understand Japanese perceptions of and experience with bears, we analyzed results of 5 public surveys and reviewed 29 articles from the research and gray literature in Japan. We compared recommendations for interventions to reduce human–bear conflicts with results from 45 North American articles that discuss public opinion about bear management. Most (91%) Japanese respondents thought bears were frightening; there was a strong association between the number of people who experienced damage by black bears and those who disliked black bears (R² = 0.81). Many researchers stressed the importance of public education to reduce human–bear conflicts. Yet, results of outreach programs were mixed or in need of evaluation. More effective programs are needed for Japanese residents to acquire accurate information about bears and skills to prevent conflicts with them to make informed decisions for sustainable management of bears.
Sakurai, Ryo and Jacobson, Susan K.
"Public Perceptions of Bears and Management Interventions in Japan,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 5
, Article 14.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol5/iss1/14