Difference in opinions

Significant differences in opinions were recorded among the four surveyed groups – urban population from Zagreb, and rural populations from Gorski Kotar, Lika and Dalmatia. In general, the urban population from Zagreb had the most positive stance regarding wolves. However, if these survey question brought wolves closer to Zagreb (20 km from Zagreb), these positions became the most negative among the groups. It can be concluded that those surveyed from Zagreb exhibited a very strong NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome.

The three rural groups from Gorski Kotar, Lika and Dalmatia did not show large differences in positions on wolves in Croatia generally and in their regions. Of these three groups, those surveyed in Gorski Kotar had the most positive stance towards wolves in previous surveys, while Dalmatia, as the region suffering the greatest damage to domestic animals, had the most negative stance. Research from 2005 showed that there were significant changes in perceptions of those surveyed from Lika, and that they had “taken the lead” ahead of Gorski Kotar. The authors of this study also mentioned the opening and activity of the office of the State Institute of Nature Protection in Gospić as a possible reason for this change.

The residents of all three rural zones, and of Zagreb to a certain extent, showed the significant level of compassion with sheep and goat keepers, as they supported different ideas aimed at helping livestock owner affected by wolf attacks.

In comparison with previous surveys, those questioned from Gorski Kotar and Lika were increasingly in support of legal protection for wolves. The Zagreb participants also supported wolf protection. However, the majority of those surveyed believed that a certain control over wolf numbers should be permitted, particularly if wolves were causing damages to domesticated animals.

Though the results indicate a declining fear of wolves, this continues to play an important role for the Croatian public. This is particularly pronounced in Dalmatia, which is virtually absurd, since those surveyed in Dalmatia showed good knowledge of wolves, while also holding the most negative perceptions of them. On the other hand, some of those questioned from Zagreb showed the poorest knowledge of wolves, while also having the most positive perception of them (By: Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek).
 

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