Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 389–399 | Cite as

Knowledge and Perceptions of Macedonian Hunters and Herders: The Influence of Species Specific Ecology of Bears, Wolves, and Lynx

  • Nicolas LescureuxEmail author
  • John D. C. Linnell


The fact that human—large carnivore relationships tend to be full of material and social conflicts raises applied questions concerning the origin of human perceptions linked to these animals and more theoretical questions concerning the link between identification and relational processes. This study, based on ethno-ethological surveys in the Republic of Macedonia (SE Europe), aims to show that the widely contrasting species specific behavioural characteristics of brown bears, wolves and Eurasian lynx influence local perceptions of these species through the nature and frequency of their interactions with humans. It appears that a high frequency of interactions allows the relational processes to dominate, leading people to modify their actions in response to the behaviour and ecology of the species. However, the fact that the virtual absence of interactions with lynx has not prevented the construction of a particular image of the species also highlights the complexity of the relationship between the level of interactions and people’s perception about animals.


Human—carnivores conflicts Ethno-ethology Interaction Identification processes Relational processes 



This study was funded by the Research Council of Norway, the FYSSEN Foundation and the MAVA Foundation. The authors would like to thank Dime Melovski, Alexandar Stojanov, Gjorge Ivanov, Sabit Mustafa and Vasco Avukatov from Macedonian Ecological Society for their logistic help on the field.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.USM 104 Eco-Anthropologie et EthnobiologieMuséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance

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