The Risk of Living With Bears on Western Hudson Bay
Manning, Katie L
MetadataShow full item record
Social-ecological systems in Canada’s Arctic and sub-Arctic are changing. Although community members in Churchill, Manitoba have long co-existed with polar bears, increasing interactions with grizzly bears are complicating the human understanding of the human-bear relationship. This novel ecosystem is identified by the return of the barren-land grizzly bear population to the province and is exposes the need for adaptation and innovation to combat human-grizzly bear conflicts. I explore the relationships that people in Churchill have with the three bear species found locally (polar bears Ursus maritimus, black bears Ursus americanus, and grizzly bears Ursus arctos), focusing on local knowledge of the three bear species and how individuals’ familiarity with these species influences risk perceptions for coexisting. This research also explored what locals identified as current gaps and/ or limitations to the current bear management institutions to address the increase in grizzly bear presence in northern Manitoba. Data were collected by combining semi-structured interviews and Q methodology in a mixed methods approach. I found that local perceptions of risk and bear species-specific knowledge have been influenced by generational knowledge, the geography of land activities, previous educational training, interaction experiences, and more. I found a total of four unique perspectives emerged based on the theme of species-specific knowledge, as well as three distinct perspectives on the theme of risk. Locals indicated that they possess limited options and knowledge to protect their property and themselves from grizzly bears. They are extremely interested in participating and supporting future grizzly bear research efforts and I have outlined recommendations for researchers and wildlife managers on what is needed to ameliorate human-wildlife conflicts, gain community support for conservation plans, and be adaptive to the evolving social-ecological system on western Hudson Bay. Overall, this thesis provides insights on the human dimensions of a novel ecosystem and how frameworks like the adaptive cycle of innovation can be used to guide policy makers, wildlife managers, and resources to support human-wildlife coexistence.
DegreeMaster of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
DepartmentSchool of Environment and Sustainability
ProgramEnvironment and Sustainability
CommitteeLambert, Simon; Blakley, Jill; Natcher, David
Q method, Semi-structured interviews, Mixed methods, Local and Traditional Knowledge, Social perspectives, Sub-Arctic, Risk, Community-based, Polar bears (Ursus marimitus), Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), Black bears (Ursus americanus).