Views on wolves determined more by culture than individual encounters
Whos afraid of the big bad wolf? The survey says: it largely depends on who you are and what you do, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the University of Wisconsin. Published in the December issue of the journal Conservation Biology, survey results among people who live with wolves in northern Wisconsin revealed that deeply rooted social identities and occupations are more powerful predictors of their attitudes toward wolves than individual encounters, or losses of pets and livestock.
Using a mail-back survey with a pool of 535 respondents, scientists found that bear hunters were the group with the least tolerance, with approximately 74 percent of the 124 hunters in the survey in favor of reducing or eliminating Wisconsins wolf population. Attitudes among this group did not vary greatly between the perceived threat and an actual loss of hunting dogs, which sometimes fall prey to wolves. By comparison, about 44 percent of livestock producers favored reducing or eliminating wolves, and only 28.5 percent of general residents supported the same. Overall, there is moderate support for wolf recovery statewide, with only 17.4 percent indicating that wolves should be eliminated.
John Delaney | EurekAlert!
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