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Doctoral thesis, 2019

On the other side of the fence

Eklund, Ann


Large carnivore conservation in Sweden relies on land sharing in multi-use landscapes as carnivore populations mainly occur outside protected areas. Prevention of carnivore attacks on domestic animals is prioritised to mitigate potential carnivore impacts, and to mitigate conflicts between stakeholders over carnivore conservation. Interventions intended to prevent carnivore attacks on domestic animals can only be effective if implemented, and mitigation of social conflicts depends on stakeholders support. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to an increased understanding of the effects that the provision, promotion, and implementation of interventions intended to prevent attacks of large carnivores on domestic animals may have on impact and conflict mitigation across stakeholder groups. A review of scientific literature reveals limited scientific evidence of intervention effectiveness to reduce the risk of large carnivore attacks on livestock. Keeping livestock in enclosures, using livestock guarding dogs or deterrents, or removing carnivores, can reduce the risk and severity of carnivore attacks, but the scientific evidence does not allow generalised assumptions about their effectiveness. Focus group interviews with owners of hunting dogs, pet dogs, sheep, reindeer, and transhumance livestock, combined with a web-based survey to the owner groups and the public, provides understanding of the end-user perspective. For animal owners, the intention to use interventions is influenced by the perceived subjective norms and by experienced worry for carnivore attacks. Beliefs about intervention effectiveness can be important for acceptance of specific interventions but should be considered a prerequisite rather than a guarantee for animal owners’ acceptance. These beliefs are weighed against the implications that interventions imply, such as time consumption, money, or compromised animal welfare. Suitable interventions can aid animal owners’ coping and reduce worry, but more controversial interventions may stir social conflicts. Provision and promotion of interventions can generate frustration if animal owners are unable to cope with intervention implications, or are presented with interventions appraised as irrelevant or norm incongruent. From a carnivore conservation and management perspective, humility as well as an ability to understand and acknowledge the experiences, concerns, and emotions of individuals is of vital importance to facilitate development of social trust and empathetic dialogue in the future.


large carnivore; conservation; wildlife conflict; human dimensions

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2019, number: 2019:63
ISBN: 978-91-7760-444-0, eISBN: 978-91-7760-445-7
Publisher: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Eklund, Ann
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

Associated SLU-program

Wildlife Damage Centre

UKÄ Subject classification

Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Fish and Wildlife Management

URI (permanent link to this page)