Human Dimensions of Wild Horse Management: Visitor Attitudes and Behaviors on North Carolina’s Barrier Islands

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2020-04-24

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Abstract

Rapid increases in human population and infrastructure worldwide have outpaced our ability to coexist with wildlife in their natural ranges. This often leads to human-wildlife interactions resulting in conflict. In this study, I address visitor interactions with wild horses on Shackleford Banks and Rachel Carson Reserve, two undeveloped barrier islands in North Carolina. The remoteness of these two islands draws visitors but creates challenges in effective public communication and enforcement of regulations regarding human-wildlife interactions. As tourism increases, interactions with the wild horses increase in frequency and severity. I surveyed visitors about their awareness and compliance with regulations regarding the resident population of wild horses. I concluded that visitors overwhelmingly knew that regulations existed and chose not to follow them, despite reporting a high appreciation for wild horses. Given these results, wildlife managers may consider new approaches and media forms to communicate regulations with visitors.

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Selby, Lea (2020). Human Dimensions of Wild Horse Management: Visitor Attitudes and Behaviors on North Carolina’s Barrier Islands. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20527.


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