What is Human Bear Conflict?

To date, scientists and researchers have not arrived at a universally agreed definition of the term ‘Human Bear Conflict‘ (HBC). Current research literature reflects wide and divergent opinions; any definition is highly influenced by the perception of different stakeholders and their involvement in HBC reduction.

To bring clarity to WSPA materials (including the 2009 Principles of Human Bear Conflict reduction document), our current working definition of HBC is as follows:

Any situation where wild bears use (undesirably) or damage human property; where wild bears harm people; or where people perceive bears to be a direct threat to their property or safety. HBC can result in negative attitudes toward bears and human retaliation against bears, both of which can hamper conservation efforts and bear welfare. Fundamentally, HBC stems from humans and bears competing for space and/or bears being attracted to food products produced or managed by people.

Please note: WSPA uses the term ‘conflict bear’ to describe an animal that has been involved in a conflict situation with humans and/or human property.

Read about how HBC affects bears >>

Read about how HBC affects people >>


Bears’ attraction to food products produced and managed by people causes conflict