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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Controlled exposure reduces fear of brown bears

Johansson, Maria; Flykt, Anders; Frank, Jens; Stoen, Ole-Gunnar


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.


Fear; large carnivores; exposure; interventions

Published in

Human Dimensions of Wildlife
2019, Volume: 24, number: 4, pages: 363-379

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    Fish and Wildlife Management

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