In this paper, we analyse self-reported fear of four large carnivore species in a representative sample of the Norwegian population. People reported the most fear of the two largest and most dangerous carnivores, brown bears and wolves, and less fear of lynx and wolverines. Women expressed significantly more fear of these species than did men, and expressed fear increased with age in both sexes. Human population density had very little effect on the degree of self-reported fear of large carnivores, but people living in rural areas with one carnivore species in their vicinity expressed less fear of this species than people from rural areas where this carnivore species was absent. Activities related to experience with, or knowledge of, the large carnivores also effected fear patterns. People with higher education and those who expressed interest in outdoor activities like small game hunting and mountain hiking generally reported less fear than did respondents with lower education and no interest in outdoor activities, respectively. We argue that a good management strategy is to develop educational programs where people learn about the biology and habits of the large carnivores and are encouraged to gain first-hand outdoor experience in areas with large carnivores © 2003 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
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