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Rural and urban students' perceptions of and attitudes toward brown bears in Turkey

By H. Ambarli

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Many studies have examined adults’ perceptions of and attitudes toward large carnivores to assess human–wildlife conflict and inform conservation strategies, but there have been few studies concerning children. I studied secondary school students’ perceptions of and attitudes toward brown bears (Ursus arctos) and other large mammals in Turkey via a questionnaire survey. The questionnaire, consisting of 18 questions, was completed by 215 rural and 98 urban secondary school students. Both sets of students liked bears; they were also afraid of them and unsure about living with them in the future. While there were no gender differences in attitudes and perceptions, there were marked differences between urban and rural students. Urban students had less contact with nature, gained more of their knowledge about bears from documentaries, and had less positive attitudes toward bears. They were also more likely to be afraid of species not present in Turkey, for example, anaconda, while rural students were most afraid of wild boars. Factor analysis identified three important themes: familiarity with bears, conservation of bears, and experiencing conflict with bears, which explained 49.8% of the variance in attitudes toward bears. The most important factor for the development of negative attitudes toward bears was personal experience of human–bear conflict, suggesting that measures to reduce human–bear conflict in rural areas may help to sustain students’ positive attitudes toward the conservation of bears.

Date 2016
Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 489-502
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2016.1181384
Language English
Author Address Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animals
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Asia
  5. Attitudes
  6. Bears
  7. Biodiversity
  8. Biological resources
  9. Boars
  10. Carnivores
  11. Children
  12. Conservation
  13. Developing countries
  14. Ecology
  15. Environmental research
  16. Humans
  17. Mammals
  18. Meat animals
  19. Mediterranean region
  20. Men
  21. OECD countries
  22. Pigs
  23. Primates
  24. Psychiatry and psychology
  25. Questionnaires
  26. Research
  27. rural areas
  28. Social psychology and social anthropology
  29. students
  30. Suiformes
  31. Turkey
  32. ungulates
  33. urban areas
  34. vertebrates
  35. Wild animals
  36. Zoology