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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

Attitudes of hunters, locals, and the general public in Sweden now that the wolves are back

Ericsson, G; Heberlein, TA


The wolf population in Scandinavia has increased from functionally extinct to about 100 wolves since the 1970s. In 2001 we surveyed four groups of Swedes to analyze the relationship between experience, knowledge, and people's attitude toward wolves. Although all groups support the right of wolves to exist, Swedes who live in areas where wolves have been restored have more negative attitudes than the general public. Attitudes toward wolves are not strong among the general public, thus changes are possible. Experience with wolf predation leads to more negative attitudes toward wolves. Hunters in areas with wolves have the most accurate knowledge about wolves but at the same time the most negative attitudes. But within all four groups as knowledge increases attitudes become more positive. Still, the most knowledgeable local hunters have less favorable attitudes than the least knowledgeable members of the general public. High proportions of the population do not care about wolves which makes it difficult to reach them with information, but does make them susceptible to rapid changes if wolves become a media topic. With the restoration of wolves, hunters, the strongest supporters of wolves in the 1970s, are now less supportive than the general public. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


attitudes; education; experience; knowledge; wolf

Published in

Biological Conservation
2003, volume: 111, number: 2, pages: 149-159

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Ecology
Heberlein, Thomas
University of Wisconsin-Madison

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Economics and Business
Social Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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