• Local attitudes toward Apennine brown bears: Insights for conservation issues

      Glikman, Jenny A.; Ciucci, Paolo; Marino, Agnese; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Bath, Alistair J.; Boitani, Luigi (2019)
      Human-carnivore coexistence is a multi-faceted issue that requires an understanding of the diverse attitudes and perspectives of the communities living with large carnivores. To inform initiatives that encourage behaviors in line with conservation goals, we focused on assessing the two components of attitudes (i.e., feelings and beliefs), as well as norms of local communities coexisting with Apennine brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) for a long time. This bear population is under serious extinction risks due to its persistently small population size, which is currently confined to the long-established protected area of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park (PNALM) and its surrounding region in central Italy. We interviewed 1,611 residents in the PNALM to determine attitudes and values toward bears. We found that support for the bear's legal protection was widespread throughout the area, though beliefs about the benefits of conserving bears varied across geographic administrative districts. Our results showed that residents across our study areas liked bears. At the same time, areas that received more benefits from tourism were more strongly associated with positive feelings toward bears. Such findings provide useful information to improve communication efforts of conservation authorities with local communities.