Understanding the acceptability of wolf management actions: Roles of cognition and emotion
Straka, Tanya M.; Miller, Kelly; Jacobs, M.H.
Wolf management actions are seldom universally accepted and understanding diverse opinions is of value for conservation practitioners. Previous research has either investigated cognitions or emotions to understand public acceptability of wolf management actions. We investigated both concepts simultaneously to identify whether their predictive potentials are mutually exclusive. A survey measuring wildlife value orientations, valence (positive-negative emotions) toward wolves, and responses to wolf management actions (doing nothing, public education, lethal control) was completed by 597 Dutch and German university students. Valence predicted the acceptability of all wolf management actions. Wildlife value orientations predicted the acceptability of lethal control and partially public education but not of doing nothing. Emotions thus added predictive potential next to cognitions to understand responses to wolf management actions. For both research and practice, it is important to acknowledge that the acceptability of wolf management actions is not only guided by what people think, but also by what they feel.