Threat Perception and Attitudes of Adolescents Towards Re-Introduced Wild Animals: A qualitative study of young learners from affected regions in Germany

Autor(en): Hermann, Nadin
Menzel, Susanne 
Stichwörter: Adolescents; ARGUMENTATION; Attitudes; BIODIVERSITY; CHILDREN; Dilemmas; Education & Educational Research; KNOWLEDGE; MANAGEMENT; PATTERNS; Perception of threat; PLANTS; SCIENCE; Socio-scientific issues; VALUES; Wildlife; WOLVES
Erscheinungsdatum: 2013
Volumen: 35
Ausgabe: 18
Startseite: 3062
Seitenende: 3094
Conservation efforts such as the restoration of European bison or the support of wolf immigration into Germany are often socio-scientifically controversial. In many cases, disputes are based on individuals' threat perception and attitudes towards the animal involved. The herewith reported study provides qualitative insights into German adolescents' (n=31, M-age=16.6 years) attitudes towards animal reintroduction, their threat and coping appraisal about wildlife and their knowledge of local endangered species. We found that students had rather limited knowledge of local endangered species. After Kellert's categories of animal attitudes, the adolescents showed a strong moralistic view on wildlife return. Naturalistic, ecologistic and utilitarian views were also strongly apparent. According to the Protection Motivation Theory, perceived threats could be identified as threats to animals on the one hand and threats to human interests on the other. Such threat perceptions often lead to a dilemma, which made it difficult to decide upon the priorities of wildlife protection versus protection of human interests. Coping mechanism to reduce threats to human interests as mentioned by the participants included restrictions of the animal as well as strategies that focused on responsibility by humans. Regarding coping mechanism to prevent the species' extinction, participants showed a relatively superficial understanding. Furthermore, we found that participants from regions where wolves are currently immigrating or European bison are being reintroduced showed a more positive understanding of the respective animal. Our findings are discussed in the light of this topic's potential as an example of a real-life socio-scientific issue in classroom discussions.
ISSN: 09500693
DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2012.685196

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