Date of Award

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Baldwin, Elizabeth D.

Committee Member

Hallo , Jeffrey C.

Committee Member

Bridges , William C.

Abstract

As humans move into more remote areas wildlife are displaced and there are an increasing number of human-wildlife interactions. Human dimensions research is important in order to understand social components necessary to maintain healthy wildlife populations while also maintaining healthy relationships between wildlife and the local community. In upstate South Carolina, the number of wildlife nuisance calls received by the Department of Natural Resources has increased. More importantly, wildlife populations, particularly the American black bear (Ursus americanus), continue to move into urban areas. The following study explores black bear encounter report calls coming into the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) from residents in four upstate SC counties. An emphasis is placed on determining the location of each encounter within the wildland-urban interface to show which calls are most common and the habitat type for where the calls originate. Using nuisance report forms collected by SCDNR officers from 2009 to 2011, GIS technology was utilized to map the locations of encounters calls within the wildland-urban interface of SC. Additionally, relationships between each report variable (encounter type, encounter location, encounter details, and first action taken) were explored and analyzed by county among years. Findings suggest that the majority of bear encounter calls result from encounters within low to medium housing density areas with intermixed vegetation. Additionally, encounters throughout each year and county show no distinct patterns. Since there is little information on bear-human conflicts in the wildland-urban interface, the goal of understanding where the calls originate in the wildland-urban interface and which calls were most common was achieved. Ultimately, this new information will help create strategies for reducing the number of received calls and assisting in allocation of educational resources.

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