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Controlled exposure reduces fear of brown bears

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Publication Details
Author list: FLYKT A, JOHANSSON GRÖNBLAD M, JOHANSSON GRÖNBLAD M
Publication year: 2019
Start page: 363
End page: 379
Number of pages: 17
ISSN: 1087-1209
View additional information: View in Web of Science™

Abstract

Fear of large carnivores such as brown bears may restrict people’s outdoor activities regardless of experts’ estimated risk of attack. This research study empirically examined three exposure interventions in the form of guided walks intended to give people living in brown bear areas tools for coping with their fear. All interventions significantly reduced fear, decreased people’s perceived vulnerability, and increased their social trust in wildlife management authorities. The walk including an encounter with a radio-collared bear in a wild bear habitat resulted in the largest reduction in fear, followed by the walk in the wild bear habitat only and then the walk in a park with captive bears. The wild bear habitat walk was the intervention best suited for further development as it may be used in any area where bears occur and without affecting animal welfare.


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