European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 295–302 | Cite as

Residents’ support for wolf and bear conservation: the moderating influence of knowledge

  • Jenny Anne GlikmanEmail author
  • Jerry J. Vaske
  • Alistair J. Bath
  • Paolo Ciucci
  • Luigi Boitani
Original Paper


This article examines the combined influence of cognitions (i.e., impact beliefs) and affect (i.e., feelings) on normative beliefs (i.e., support for management options) about wolves and brown bears. Data were obtained from stratified random face-to-face interviews (n = 1,611). The survey was conducted in the Abruzzo Lazio and Molise National Park (central Italy), where people have a long history of coexistence with large carnivores. Knowledge was hypothesized to moderate the relationships of beliefs and feelings on support for management actions. Path analyses supported the role of affect in mediating perceived impact beliefs and support for the protection of large carnivores. Knowledge moderated these relationships in the case of wolves but not brown bears. Residents of the national park had more knowledge about bears than wolves, which might partly explain both the stronger effect that knowledge had on the affective component and its lack of a moderating effect on the bear model. Overall, our findings show the positive attitude of residents toward large carnivores and support the idea of affect being more important than cognition in predicting normative beliefs.


Attitudes Beliefs Brown bears Knowledge Norms Wolves 


  1. Balčiauskas L, Kazlauskas M, Randveer T (2010) Lynx acceptance in Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia. Est J Ecol 59:52–61. doi: 10.3176/eco.2010.1.04 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baron RM, Kenny DA (1986) The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. J Pers Soc Psychol 51:1173–1182. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1173 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bath AJ (1994) Public attitudes toward polar bears: an application of human dimensions in wildlife resources research. In: Thompson I (ed) Proceedings of International Union of Game Biologists XXI (vol. 1), Canadian Forestry Services, Halifax, Canada, pp 168–174Google Scholar
  4. Bath AJ, Buchanan T (1989) Attitudes of interest groups in Wyoming towards wolf restoration in Yellowstone National Park. Wildl Soc Bull 17:519–525Google Scholar
  5. Berninger K, Kneeshaw D, Messier C (2009) Effects of presenting forest simulation results on the forest values and attitudes of forestry professionals and other forest users in Central Labrador. Forest Pol Econ 11:140–147. doi: 10.1016/j.forpol.2008.11.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bisi J, Kurki S, Svensberg M, Liukkonen T (2007) Human dimension on wolf (Canis lupus) conflicts in Finland. Eur J Wildl Res 53:304–314. doi: 10.1007/s10344-007-0092-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bisi J, Liukkonen T, Mykrä S, Pohja-Mykrä M, Kurki S (2010) The good bad wolf—wolf evaluation reveals the roots of the Finnish wolf conflict. Eur J Wildl Res 56:771–779. doi: 10.1007/s10344-010-0374-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blanco JC, Reig S, Cuesta L (1992) Distribution, status and conservation problems of the wolf Canis lupus in Spain. Biol Conserv 60:73–80. doi: 10.1016/0006-3207(92)91157-N CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boitani L (1995) Ecological and cultural diversities in the evolution of wolf-human relationships. In: Carbyn LN, Fritts SH, Seip D (eds) Ecology and conservation of wolves in a changing world. Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, pp 3–12Google Scholar
  10. Boitani L (2000) Action Plan for Conservation of the Wolves (Canis lupus) in Europe. Nature and Environment, no. 113. Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, FranceGoogle Scholar
  11. Boitani L, Ciucci P (1993) Wolves in Italy: critical issues for their conservation. In: Promberger C, Schröder W (eds) Wolves in Europe: status and perspectives. Proceedings of the Workshop on Wolves in Europe: current status and prospects. Munich Wildlife Society, Oberammergau, pp 74–90Google Scholar
  12. Bowen-Jones E, Entwistle A (2002) Identifying appropriate flagship species: the importance of culture and local contexts. Oryx 36:189–195. doi: 10.1017/S0030605302000261 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruskotter JT, Vaske JJ, Schmidt RH (2009) Social and cognitive correlates of Utah residents' acceptance of the lethal control of wolves. Hum Dimens Wildl 14:119–132. doi: 10.1080/10871200802712571 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ciucci P, Boitani L (2008) The Apennine brown bear: a critical review of its status and conservation problems. Ursus 19:130–145. doi: 10.2192/07PER012.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ciucci P, Boitani L (2010) Conservation of large carnivores in Abruzzo: a research project integrating species, habitat and human dimension. Annual Report 2009, Department of Animal and Human Biology, Sapienza University of RomeGoogle Scholar
  16. Ciucci P, Boitani L, Francisci F, Andreoli G (1997) Home-range, activity and movements of a wolf pack in central Italy. J Zool 243:803–819. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1997.tb01977.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cooke R, Sheeran P (2004) Moderation of cognition–intention and cognition–behaviour relations: a meta-analysis of properties of variables from the theory of planned behaviour. Br J Soc Psychol 43:159–186PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cronbach LJ (1951) Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika 16:297–334. doi: 10.1007/BF02310555 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cvetkovich G, Winter PL (2003) Trust and social representations of the management of threatened and endangered species. Environ behav 35(2): 286–307Google Scholar
  20. Eagly AH, Chaiken S (1993) The psychology of attitudes. Harcourt, Fort WorthGoogle Scholar
  21. Ericsson G, Heberlein T (2003) Attitudes of hunters, locals, and the general public in Sweden now that the wolves are back. Biol Cons 111:149–159. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00258-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Forgas JP (1998) On feeling good and getting your way: mood effects on negotiation strategies and outcomes. J Pers Soc Psychol 74:565–577. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.3.565 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fritts S, Stephenson R, Hayes R, Boitani L (2003) Wolves and humans. In: Mech D, Boitani L (eds) Wolves: behavior, ecology, and conservation. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  24. Gervasi V, Ciucci P, Boulanger J, Posillico M, Sulli C, Focardi S, Randi E, Boitani L (2008) A preliminary estimate of the Apennine brown bear population size based on hair-snag sampling and multiple data source mark–recapture Huggins models. Ursus 19:105–121. doi: 10.2192/07GR022.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Glikman JA, Bath AJ, Vaske JJ (2010) Segmenting normative beliefs regarding wolf management in central Italy. Hum Dimens Wildl 15:347–358. doi: 10.1080/10871209.2010.505598 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnston VS (1999) Why we feel: the science of emotions. Helix Books, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  27. Karlsson J, Sjöström M (2007) Human attitudes toward wolves, a matter of distance. Biol Conserv 137:610–616. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2007.03.023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kellert SR (1985) Public perceptions of predators, particularly the wolf and coyote. Biol Conserv 31:167–189. doi: 10.1016/0006-3207(85)90047-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kellert S, Black M, Rush C, Bath A (1996) Human culture and large carnivore conservation in North America. Conserv Biol 10:977–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kretser HE, Sullivan PJ, Knuth BA (2008) Housing density as an indicator of spatial patterns of reported human–wildlife interactions in Northern New York. Landscape Urban Plan 84:282–292. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2007.08.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Latini R, Sulli C, Gentile L, Di Benedetto A (2005) Conflitto tra grandi carnivori e attività antropiche nel Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo Lazio e Molise: Entità, esperienze e prospettive di gestione. In: Ciucci P, Teofili C, Boitani L (eds) Grandi Carnivori e Zootecnia tra conflitto e coesistenza. Biologia e Conservazione della Fauna 115:151–159 (In Italian with English summary)Google Scholar
  32. Mech DL, Boitani L (eds) (2003) Wolves: behavior, ecology, and conservation. University Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  33. Messmer TA (2000) The emergence of human-wildlife conflict management: turning challenges into opportunities. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 45:97–102. doi: 10.1016/S0964-8305(00)00045-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pate J, Manfredo MJ, Bright AD, Tischbein G (1996) Coloradans’ attitudes toward reintroducing the gray wolf into Colorado. Wildl Soc Bull 24:421–428Google Scholar
  35. Petrucci-Fonseca F, Ribeiro S, Pires AE, Cruz C (2000) Contributo para a minimização do impacto económico dos predadores sobre os animais domésticos. Technical Report, Programme PAMAF-IED. Lisbon: Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon UniversityGoogle Scholar
  36. Petty R, Cacioppo JT (1986) The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. Adv Exp Soc Psychol 19:123–205. doi: 10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60214-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Prislin R (1996) Attitude stability and attitude strength: one is enough to make it stable. Eur J Soc Psychol 26:447–477. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199605)26:3<447::AID-EJSP768>3.0.CO;2-I CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith AM, Sutton SG (2008) The role of a flagship species in the formation of conservation intentions. Hum Dimens Wildl 13:127–140. doi: 10.1080/10871200701883408 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Trafimow D, Sheeran P, Lombardo B, Finlay KA, Brown J, Armitage CJ (2004) Affective and cognitive control of persons and behaviours. Br J Soc Psychol 43:207–224PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Trouwborst A (2010) Managing the carnivore comeback: international and EU species protection law and the return of lynx, wolf and bear to Western Europe. J Environ Law. doi: 10.1093/jel/eqq013
  41. Vaske JJ (2008) Survey research and analysis. Application in parks, recreation and Human Dimensions. Venture Publishing, Inc, PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  42. Vaske, JJ, Donnelly MP (2007) Public knowledge and perceptions of the desert tortoise. (HDNRU Report No. 81). Report for the National Park Service. Fort Collins: Colorado State University, Human Dimensions in Natural Resources UnitGoogle Scholar
  43. Vaske JJ, Whittaker D (2004) Normative approaches to natural resources. In: Manfredo MJ, Vaske JJ, Bruyere BL, DRF, Brown P (eds) Society and natural resources: a summary of knowledge. Jefferson, MO, Modern Litho, pp 283–294Google Scholar
  44. Verplanken B, Hofstee G, Janssen HJW (1998) Accessibility of affective versus cognitive components of attitudes. Eur J Soc Psychol 28:23–35. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199801/02)28:1<23::AID-EJSP843>3.0.CO;2-Z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Whittaker D, Vaske JJ, Manfredo MJ (2006) Specificity and the cognitive hierarchy: values orientations and the acceptability of urban wildlife management actions. Soc Nat Resour 19:515–530. doi: 10.1080/08941920600663912 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilson RS (2008) Balancing emotion and cognition: a case for decision aiding in conservation efforts. Conserv Biol 22:1452–1460. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01016.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zimen E, Boitani L (1975) Number and distribution of wolves in Italy. Z Saugetierkd 40:102–112Google Scholar
  48. Zunino F, Herrero S (1972) The status of the brown bear in Abruzzo National Park, Italy, 1971. Biol Conserv 4:263–272. doi: 10.1016/0006-3207(72)90123-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny Anne Glikman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jerry J. Vaske
    • 2
  • Alistair J. Bath
    • 1
  • Paolo Ciucci
    • 3
  • Luigi Boitani
    • 3
  1. 1.Geography DepartmentMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Human Dimensions of Natural ResourcesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biology and BiotechnologyLa Sapienza UniversityRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations