Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

12-6-2014

Degree Program

Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

February

Advisor Name

Stephen

Advisor Last Name

DeStefano

Abstract

We conducted a study of human-wildlife interactions in Massachusetts, USA between April 2010 and May 2012. Our objectives were to (1) compile and summarize public-generated reports on human-wildlife interactions across Massachusetts; (2) evaluate reports based on species, public concerns, and seasonal distribution; and (3) evaluate public perceptions of human-wildlife interactions. We collected unsolicited reports of human-wildlife interaction submitted to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) through phone calls, emails, and face-to-face communications from the public. We received 2,730 reports from 332 of 351 towns in Massachusetts regarding 76 different wildlife species ranging from moose (Alces alces) to honey bees (Apis mellifera). Coyotes (Canis latrans) (328, 12%), bears (Ursus americanus) (307, 11%), and foxes (Vulpes vulpes and Urocyon cinereoargenteus) (284, 10%) were the most common species reported. Property disturbance/damage was the most common report type (934, 35%), concern for the welfare of wildlife was the most common concern type (539, 24%), and the most common report and concern pairing (referred to as perception type) was reports of young/injured wildlife with a concern for the welfare of wildlife (279, 13%). We tested for differences in reporting rates of human-wildlife interactions among seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) and among 5 urban-suburban development categories (low, medium-low, medium, medium-high, high). The distribution of total animal report records were greater than expected for spring and for summer and less than expected for fall and for winter. The distribution of total animal report records were less than expected for low and medium-low development categories, and greater than expected for medium, medium-high, and high development categories. We then conducted multiple regression analyses to examine how total reports of human-wildlife interactions, as well as reports of human and species-specific interactions (coyotes, foxes, bears, fishers (Martes pennanti), and birds of prey) related to median home value and landscape composition and configuration. Total reports and reports of coyote, fox, and fisher were correlated with our model.

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