Historical Attitudes and Images and the Implications on

Carnivore Survival

Karlyn Atkinson Berg

Wolf Consultant, Humane Society of the United States, 44781 Bittner Point Road, Bovey, MN 55709; (218) 245-3049;



This paper examines how mythological images and historical attitudes emerge and influence

our interactions with different predator species, such as the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos),

cougar (Puma concolor), lynx (Lynx canadensis), wolf (Canis lupus), coyote (Canis latrans),

and raven (Corvus corax). The author will compare the relationship between humans and

carnivores, and how attitudes and beliefs have impacted different predator species. Do

people regard certain carnivores as more fierce, dangerous, or problematic? Is there more

animosity and disparate levels of hostility or tolerance toward the different carnivores?

Have these attitudes influenced concepts and ethics applied to wildlife management? How

is the value of predators measured, considered or applied? Can understanding the different

perceptions help resolve complicated issues, such as reintroduction, critical habitat, depredation

conflicts, animal damage control, and management? The author believes scientific

knowledge is not enough to achieve acceptance of carnivores. The purpose of this inquiry

will be to discover if knowledge and education can develop understanding and tolerance of

all predators, and thus enhance the commitment to co-exist with carnivore species