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European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 759–770 | Cite as

Strong community support for illegal killing challenges wolf management

  • Mari Pohja-MykräEmail author
  • Sami Kurki
Original Paper

Abstract

In Finland, the conservation of large mammalian carnivores—brown bear, lynx, wolf and wolverine—is undermined by illegal killings that have commonly taken place after the implementation of national carnivore management plans. This hidden form of criminality cannot occur to such an extent without strong support from the local community. We examined the support of proximate groups by collecting data from hunters and women. In collecting data, we used non-active role playing with empathy-based fictitious stories. We used argumentation analysis to reveal the assumed species, the background of the illegal killing and especially the justifications and importance of community support for illegal killing. The results show that we have a conflict with strong basic emotions in hand as both illegal killing and support for illegal killing and hunting violators are based on anger and fear for children and domestic animals as well as frustration toward the authorities and the lack of proper management actions. The wolf is at the centre of the conflict due to the specific character of the species. Current policies have inevitably been lacking in terms of place-based policy, and that has led to conflicts between game management authorities/researchers and ordinary citizens. To facilitate a change in attitudes, we suggest focusing on affective factors via confidence-building measures.

Keywords

Large carnivore management Illegal killing Societal sustainability Wolf management 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks go to the Rural Women's Advisory Organization in Kainuu, Satakunta, and South-West Finland and the Finnish Wildlife Agency’s regional agencies in Satakunta and Northern-Savo. Many thanks to Jukka Bisi, Juha Hiedanpää, Pirjo Ilvesviita, Sakari Mykrä, JannePitkänen and TimoVuorisalo for their contributions to the article. These results are part of a research project Toward societal sustainability in large carnivore management—background and importance of illegal killing funded by The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ruralia InstituteUniversity of HelsinkiSeinäjokiFinland

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