Distribution of Asiatic black bear and human-bear interactions in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Bhutan
Letro, Tashi Dhendup and Sangay Wangchuk
We assessed the distribution of Asiatic black bear in Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park (JSWNP) in Bhutan through remote camera trapping and line transect sampling. We also assessed the nature of human-bear conflicts through a questionnaire survey of park residents. Asiatic black bears were distributed within an elevation range of 809 masl to 4086 masl. During the last five years (2012-2016), 26% of the 311 respondents have experienced conflicts with bears, with higher incidences of crop damage followed by livestock depredation, and few cases of mauling. We recommend research on bear ecology to better understand their distribution and nature of human-bear conflicts to better inform management decisions. Compensatory schemes need to be strengthened, and other alternative counter-measures such as solar fencing needs to be instituted to prevent depredation and to increase people’s tolerance towards bears.
KEYWORDS: Asiatic Black Bear, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, conflict, Ursus thibetanus, Bhutan.