- Bear viewing in the K'tzim-a-deen inlet: Effects on grizzly bear behaviour and visitor perceptions of impact.
- Sarah Elmeligi (author), John Shultis (Thesis advisor), Pamela Wright (Thesis advisor), University of Northern British Columbia (Degree granting institution)
- Wildlife viewing has positive economic impacts for communities, but potentially negative impacts for wildlife. I researched boat-based, bear-viewing tourism in the K'tzim-a-deen Inlet by: 1) investigating grizzly bear behavioural reactions to boats, and 2) assessing visitor satisfaction and perceptions of impact. I observed a high degree of variation within and among bears in response to vessels. Paired t-tests and Kruskal-Wallis analyses revealed increases in vigilance and traveling for some individual bears while other bears showed no significant behavioural changes. Visitor satisfaction with bear viewing was high and attributable to bear related aspects of the tour. Visitors perceived mainly positive impacts of tourism related to increased knowledge and awareness, which would lead to support of bear conservation efforts. Based on data from bear behaviour and visitor surveys, I provide 13 recommendations for area management. Management plans should prioritize grizzly bear conservation and minimize potential habitat displacement events, while maintaining visitor satisfaction.
- Natural Resources & Environmental Studies