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Communication Perspectives About Bison Safety in Yellowstone National Park: A Comparison of International and North American Visitors

Zach D. Miller, Wayne Freimund, Tami Blackford

Abstract


Human-wildlife conflict is a serious issue in many park and recreation settings around the globe. The focus of this study is on exploring challenges related to communication and human-bison conflict in Yellowstone National Park. In particular, it examines differences between international and North American (from the United States and Canada) visitors. A variety of statistical testing is used to understand how visitors are using information about bison safety, and what their perceptions are about safe distances while viewing bison. Results show that international and North American visitors are using information sources in remarkably similar ways. However, there were significantly different perceptions about safe distances while viewing bison between the two groups, and international visitors were more likely to say they began to feel unsafe around bison at closer distances. The discussion provides several insights and strategies to help address human-wildlife conflict using communication.

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Keywords


human-wildlife conflict; wildlife viewing; protected areas; parks; national parks; Yellowstone; communication

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2018-V36-I1-8503

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