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


  • Zach D. Miller The Pennsylvania State University
  • Wayne Freimund Clemson University
  • Tami Blackford Yellowstone National Park.



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


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.Subscribe to JPRA

Author Biographies

Wayne Freimund, Clemson University

Dr. Freimund is Professor and Chair in the Department of Park, Recreation, and Tourism Mangement.

Tami Blackford, Yellowstone National Park.

Tami is in charge of Resource Education and Youth Programs at Yellowstone National Park.