Description

As a result of reforestation, growth of exurban areas and wildlife adaptation, it is believed that the public is currently encountering more human-wildlife conflicts than ever before. The key to balancing wildlife conservation and human development is understanding the dynamic relationship between humans and carnivores. Specifically, gaining insight into the complexity of this relationship will aide in the creation of more effective conservation policy and outreach.

Reforestation throughout Connecticut has supported a tremendous population growth of pray species and subsequently the growth of predator populations including coyotes, Canis latrans, and black bears, Ursus americanus. According to some biologists, the state will likely see an increase in mountain lions Felis concolor in the future. Prior to this study there was little knowledge regarding residents' perceptions of these predators, making it impossible to implement management strategies reflexive of residents’ beliefs and opinions.

The goals of this project were to explain the social context regarding large predators in the state of Connecticut, as well as work toward bridging the gap between ecological and social science disciplines. An explanatory sequential grounded theory approach was taken to achieve these goals. A spatial representation of perceived threat was created using black bear sighting reports to Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. From this data reporters were randomly selected to participate in interviews. Qualitative data collected through interviews and participant observation was used to create of a case specific survey. Quantitative data was also collected through surveys of randomly identified Connecticut residents.

 

Exurban Residents’ Perceptions of Naturally Returning Predators: Connecticut Case Study

As a result of reforestation, growth of exurban areas and wildlife adaptation, it is believed that the public is currently encountering more human-wildlife conflicts than ever before. The key to balancing wildlife conservation and human development is understanding the dynamic relationship between humans and carnivores. Specifically, gaining insight into the complexity of this relationship will aide in the creation of more effective conservation policy and outreach.

Reforestation throughout Connecticut has supported a tremendous population growth of pray species and subsequently the growth of predator populations including coyotes, Canis latrans, and black bears, Ursus americanus. According to some biologists, the state will likely see an increase in mountain lions Felis concolor in the future. Prior to this study there was little knowledge regarding residents' perceptions of these predators, making it impossible to implement management strategies reflexive of residents’ beliefs and opinions.

The goals of this project were to explain the social context regarding large predators in the state of Connecticut, as well as work toward bridging the gap between ecological and social science disciplines. An explanatory sequential grounded theory approach was taken to achieve these goals. A spatial representation of perceived threat was created using black bear sighting reports to Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. From this data reporters were randomly selected to participate in interviews. Qualitative data collected through interviews and participant observation was used to create of a case specific survey. Quantitative data was also collected through surveys of randomly identified Connecticut residents.