Interactions between humans and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Virginia, USA, increase as bear populations recover from historically low levels and expand their range to seek food in human-modified environments. In 2002, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) changed its management of human–bear conflicts from translocating bears involved in conflicts to emphasizing human behavior changes. Herein we provide an overview of human–bear conflict management at Massanutten Village (Village), a popular four-season resort with 3 ownerships. Before 2009, VDGIF received an average of 60–70 human–bear interaction complaints from the Village annually. In 2009, 2 Village ownerships replaced 175 dumpsters readily accessible to bears with bear-resistant models, and the number of human–bear conflict complaints VDGIF received from the Village decreased to an average of 10–15 calls per year (>75% reduction). The VDGIF continues to request behavior changes from the third ownership, which has not yet altered its garbage practices and cites bear translocation as a more appropriate response to its complaints. Additional legal consequences and education for human–bear conflict resolution may improve collaboration between VDGIF and the Village to achieve complete attractant management.
Scott, Ally M.; Kocka, David M.; and Mitchell, Glenn W.
"Human-Bear Conflicts in Massanutten Village: Achieving Success Requires Partnerships,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 12:
3, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol12/iss3/10