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A meta-analysis of studies on attitudes toward bears and wolves across Europe 1976–2012
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet .
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. (Arcum)
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet .
2015 (English)In: Conservation Biology, ISSN 0888-8892, E-ISSN 1523-1739, Vol. 29, no 2, 565-574 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ranges of wolves (Canis lupus) and bears (Ursus arctos) across Europe have expanded recently, and it is important to assess public attitudes toward this expansion because responses toward these species vary widely. General attitudes toward an object are good predictors of broad behavioral patterns; thus, attitudes toward wolves and bears can be used as indicators to assess the social foundation for future conservation efforts. However, most attitude surveys toward bears and wolves are limited in scope, both temporally and spatially, and provide only a snapshot of attitudes. To extend the results of individual surveys over a much larger temporal and geographical range so as to identify transnational patterns and changes in attitudes toward bears and wolves over time, we conducted a meta-analysis. Our analysis included 105 quantitative surveys conducted in 24 countries from 1976 to 2012. Across Europe, people's attitudes were more positive toward bears than wolves. Attitudes toward bears became more positive over time, but attitudes toward wolves seemed to become less favorable the longer people coexisted with them. Younger and more educated people had more positive attitudes toward wolves and bears than people who had experienced damage from these species, and farmers and hunters had less positive attitudes toward wolves than the general public. For bears attitudes among social groups did not differ. To inform conservation of large carnivores, we recommend that standardized longitudinal surveys be established to monitor changes in attitudes over time relative to carnivore population development. Our results emphasize the need for interdisciplinary research in this field and more advanced explanatory models capable of capturing individual and societal responses to changes in large carnivore policy and management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 29, no 2, 565-574 p.
Keyword [en]
Canis lupus, human dimension, Europe, large carnivore conservation, Ursus arctos
National Category
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Ecology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-98540DOI: DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12420ISI: 000351353400027OAI: diva2:783136
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2015-01-23 Created: 2015-01-23 Last updated: 2016-05-26Bibliographically approved

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Sandström, Camilla
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