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ŠUMARSKI LIST 5-6/1994 str. 38     <-- 38 -->        PDF

SUMMARY: The attitude of people towards wolves in Croatia was studied
by taking a total of 106 questionnaires: 53 by people that cohabitate with
wolves in Gorski kotar (»rural«) and 53 from urban areas of towns Karlovac
and Zagreb (»urban«). Each quiz, containing 12 groups of questions, was
completed by interview. The results were compared with former surveys from
1983 (Gyorgy 1984) and 1986187 (Huber et al. 1992). A very positive change
of general attitude towards wolves in Croatia compared to the last 6 or 10
years before was documented. The overall percentage of people considering
the wolf as a harmful species dropped from 42% in 1983 to 25% in 1993
(Chi2 = 10.2). However, already in 1985 only 9% of foreign visitors to Croatia
considered the wolf as a harmful species: In 1983 even 21% people wanted
to exterminate wolf, compared to 8% today (Chi2 = 9.19), while only 5%
of foreign visitors to Croatian in 1985 had the same opinion. The percent of
rural people that would like to introduce again the bounties for killed wolves
dropped significantly from 1986/87: from 85% to 23%, Chi2 = 38.86, as well
as the ones that would again like to use poisons against wolves: from 26%
to 4%, Chi2 = 8.91. Ninety percent of all examinees agree that the wolf
population decreased in the last 20 years in Croatia. It can be concluded that
the size of wolf population, and the related size of damage are the principle
determinants of attitude of local human population towards wolves. From
1986187 the wolf dropped from the fourth to the seventh place as a pest
animal in the people´s minds. The attitude towards wolves in Croatia seems
already favorable enough for the urgent introduction of legal protection.
Additional informing and educating the public about the real wolf population
status would further contribute to the conservation of species. Saving the
wolves in Croatia would help save their population in the neighboring Slovenia,
and it is an essential step to facilitate further dispersal of wolves towards
northwest, i.e. Alps.