We assessed patterns of Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus)–human interactions in the peripheral areas of the Dachigam landscape (∼1,000 km2) that encompass Dachigam National Park, Over-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, and 8 conservation reserves, in Kashmir, India, based on semi-structured interviews with villagers living near the protected areas during 2007–09. We recorded considerable overlap in resource use by bears and humans in this landscape: 72% of villagers interviewed (n = 227) claimed that they depended on forest resources in bear habitats, and 85% reported crop depredation by black bears. The 3 types of bear–human interactions recorded in Dachigam landscape were crop depredation, bear attacks on humans, and livestock depredation. Of these, crop damage (85%) was most common, which occurred during May–December and peaked in summer (Jun–Sep), when bears were active and crop production was at its highest. We recorded 19 cases of attacks on humans; all occurred during May–November with the maximum cases at crepuscular times (59%), in crop fields (63%), and in summer (52%). Livestock depredations were less common than other categories of bear–human interactions; 7 cases were recorded, mostly during winter. Based on our observations, we suggest strengthening indigenous crop protection methods, improving livestock night shelters, and monitoring high conflict areas by strengthened management teams. These measures have improved management of problem bears and have led to gains in local community support for bear conservation in other areas with black bear–human interactions.
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Vol. 22 • No. 2