The positive experience of encountering wolves in the wild



Arbieu U, Albrecht J, Mehring M, Bunnefeld N, Reinhardt I & Mueller T (2020) The positive experience of encountering wolves in the wild. Conservation Science and Practice, 2 (5), Art. No.: e184.

Large carnivores often impact human livelihoods and well‐being. Previous research has mostly focused on the negative impacts of large carnivores on human well‐being but has rarely considered the positive aspects of living with large carnivores. In particular, we know very little on people's direct experiences with large carnivores like personal encounters and on people's awareness and tolerance toward their exposure to large carnivores. Here, we focus on the wolf (Canis lupus), and report on a phone survey in Germany. We examined whether encounters with wolves were positive or negative experiences and quantified people's awareness and tolerance related to their exposure to wolves. We found that the majority of people reported positive experiences when encountering wolves, regardless of whether wolves were encountered in the wild within Germany, in the wild abroad, or in captivity. The frequency of encounters did not affect the probability to report positive, neutral, or negative experiences. Moreover, people in Germany expressed a high tolerance of living in close vicinity to wolves. These findings are novel and important because they highlight the positive aspects of living in proximity with large carnivores in human‐dominated landscapes.

attitudes; emotions; human‐wildlife interactions; social survey

Conservation Science and Practice: Volume 2, Issue 5

FundersRobert Bosch Stiftung GmbH
Publication date31/05/2020
Publication date online26/02/2020
Date accepted by journal20/01/2020

People (1)


Professor Nils Bunnefeld
Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences