Attitudes towards local carnivores in Umeå, Sweden : investigating species and individual effects on attitudes towards Carnivores in the confines of a local community

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

Abstract: The expanding human population is leading to increases in urbanisation and changing land-use. The space between wildlife and humans is diminishing as wildlife adapts to environmental changes caused by urbanisation. With an increasing number of species moving into an urban environment we see increasing encounters between humans and wildlife. This increases the risk of dealing with human-wildlife conflicts, which could have negative outcomes for both parties. There is limited knowledge about human attitudes towards smaller species of carnivores in Sweden, as well as potential drivers of attitudes. This paper aims to investigate attitudes in Umeå Municipality towards all species of carnivore found in Sweden. This is done to be able to distinguish the differences in attitude among species, and the potential predictors that explain them. To answer this question, I employ the assistance of participants in a citizen science project called “Meet Your Wild Neighbours” to aid in collecting data through surveys and camera traps. Citizen science is a growing field, with the potential to both improve data collection and shape perceptions. By separating potential covariates to explain attitude variance into two sections; species effects and individual effects I discerned some potential drivers of attitude. Differences were found among attitudes towards the species of carnivore in Sweden. The potential predictors; distance, body mass, experience and housing density did not affect attitudes as strongly as previously thought. However varying types of education systems in Sweden accounted for some variation in attitudes among participants. This study emphasises the need to understand the differences in attitudes between species, and what factors affect attitudes towards carnivores. In order to identify what conservation policies can be implemented with increased support from the public.

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