Just today, a series of interviews was published in an Austrian newspaper concerning what people thought of the return of the wolves.
The answered revealed a very disturbing view of nature and wildlife! While only 13% were concerned about the impact of returning wolves on sheep herding, more than 30% expressed concern about the impact on existing wildlife! This is a surprising and the answers clearly showed that we view nature as our backyard and it’s animals as our pets. The Wolf and Lynx are seen as threats to those pets and therefore need to be controlled or even hunted and their return stopped. The reactions in Switzerland, France and even in southern Germany support these findings. A common reaction was, that hunters and not wolves are better for controlling wildlife. A weird concept that we rather shoot deer then let their natural enemies hunt them.
The second most often voiced fear is the unfounded threat towards children. It almost seems that the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the stories of Werewolves are still alive today and believed by many to be the truth.
In the last 50 years, there have been 59 encounters between the almost 20.000 wolves in Europe without Russia and humans of which 5 sadly ended deadly and of which all were caused by a rabies infection, an animal disease that has almost been eradicated in Europe.
The interviews show that we must work hard to rekindle the human respect for nature and it’s wildlife in a wilderness setting! To enable the safe return of the large carnivores in Central Europe means a lot of communication concerning the facts to fight the myths.
We are encouraged by such recent studies that for example the german general population would like to see more wilderness.
Please help us in our task to communicate that wild animals are not pets and belong into wilderness, including the Wolf and Lynx.