What do Poles think about wolves?

The history of human and wolf coexistence can be described as alternating extermination and recovery of wolf populations. Currently, since 1998, these animals have been under strict protection. How does our society perceive this solution? And what is the attitude of Poles towards wolves?


(1) Attitudes toward wolves
– A 2016-2017 survey of rural residents and foresters (a total of 617 people) from six regions where wolves occur shows a prevalance of neutral or positive attitudes toward wolves. Most respondents like wolves, value them as a species, and think that they have positive impact on ecosystems. Most of the respondents do not feel fear of wolves.


(2) Attitude toward population management
– Despite neutral/positive attitudes toward wolves, only 32% responded that these predators should be completely protected, 47% did not support this, and 21% had no opinion.
– More than half (55%) of respondents would support seasonal wolf hunting, and 50% thought wolf hunting should be restricted to specific areas.
– However, support for unrestricted hunting was low at the level of only 11%.


More negative attitudes were observed in regions with long-history of wolf presence and where attacks on livestock occur. Respondents’ attitudes toward wolves were partly influenced by their knowledge of the species and their values toward wildlife.


What conclusions did the authors of this study draw?
The researchers suggest conducting regional educational campaigns in rural areas. Through such initiatives, reliable information about wolf biology and ecology could be conveyed. This would also help eliminate stereotypes about wolf-human conflict. The results confirm the importance of reducing wolf-livestock conflicts (e.g., by improving husbandry practices on farms).

Source: research conducted by the Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Technical University of Munich and sponsored by the SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund:
– Gosling E., Bojarska K., Gula R., Kuehn R. 2019 Recent arrivals or established tenants? History of wolf presence influences attitudes toward the carnivore. Wildlife Society Bulletin 43, 4: 639-650
The publication is available in English at: https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wsb.1027


Magda Strzała