Assessing Illinois Residents’ Support for Natural Recolonization of Apex Predators

Adam C. Landon, Craig A. Miller, Brent D. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding sources of difference in public attitudes toward wildlife is critical for the design of effective policy instruments. In this article we explored the role of wildlife value orientations and stakeholder group membership (general public versus agricultural producers) in shaping residents support for the natural recolonization of apex predators (black bear, cougar, gray wolf), in Illinois, USA. Results demonstrate differences in attitudes toward recolonization as a function of residents’ basic beliefs about the human-wildlife relationship and stakeholder group membership. Results revealed varying degrees of opposition and/or antipathy toward recolonization of apex predators across wildlife values types and stakeholder groups. Individuals that were identified to hold utilitarian beliefs about wildlife (traditionalist orientation) and agricultural producers were found to exhibit the most negative attitudes toward natural recolonization, compared to individuals that believe wildlife have intrinsic rights (mutualist orientation) or members of the general public. Individuals’ attitudes toward the recolonization of black bears were found to differ according to their wildlife value orientations, stakeholder group membership, and the combination of the two factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Attitudes toward predators
  • Natural recolonization
  • Wildlife management
  • Wildlife value orientations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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