Distribution of Asiatic black bear and its interaction with humans in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Bhutan

Letro Letro, Sangay Wangchuk, Tashi Dhendup

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We assessed the human-bear interactions and distribution patterns of the Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (JSWNP) in Bhutan through a questionnaire survey of park residents and by remote camera trapping. Our study revealed 26% (N = 311) of the respondents experiencing one or another form of human-bear interaction. Crop damage accounted for the highest interaction rate at 65%, followed by livestock depredation (25%), between 2012 and 2016. About 10% of the interactions involved human mual-ing cases in 2006–2016. About 80% of the respondents expressed support for bear conservation influenced mainly by conservation awareness programmes. Observations from 39 camera trap stations across the national park indicated a wide distribution of Asiatic black bears in JSWNP, with a mean site use probability of 0.55 (SE = 0.10, N = 39). With emerging perceived threats such as habitat fragmentation and loss, retaliatory killing, and poaching, it is recommended that the national park management adopt conservation measures that will enable a harmonious coexistence between humans and bears. Habitat enrichment with natural food resources for the bear, equipping communities with conflict preventive measures, and advocating local people on bear conservation are some of the measures that need to be adopted in the national park.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalNature Conservation Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020

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