, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 271–280 | Cite as

Predicting acceptance of lethal management of wood bison in Alaska, USA

  • Ethan D. DoneyEmail author
  • Jerry J. Vaske
  • Alistair J. Bath
  • Monica T. Engel
  • Bethany Downer
Research Article


Wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) were reintroduced into Alaska after a 170-year absence in the state. Wildlife reintroductions may cause problems by damaging property, spreading disease, increasing fear levels, and human injury and death. We examined the influence of urban Alaskan’s wildife value orientations (WVO; domination and mutualism), fear, and attitudes toward wood bison on their behavioral intention to support lethal management under specific situations. We hypothesized that: (a) domination, mutualism and fear would influence public attitudes toward wood bison, and (b) attitudes would predict an individual’s behavioral intention to support lethal management of the newly restored bison population. We collected data through a self-administered questionnaire randomly distributed to residents in Anchorage (n = 243) and Fairbanks (n = 272). Regression analyses indicated that both mutualism and domination positively correlated with attitudes, and fear negatively correlated with attitudes. Attitudes did not predict behavioral intention to support lethal management practices. Both WVOs and fear predicted behavioral intentions. The model helps to illustrate how cognitive and emotional components can influence acceptance of newly restored herbivore species. Our findings also suggested that for situations where an attitude may not exist, people may use more basic value orientations and emotions when thinking about how they would react in specific situations.


Attitudes Behavioral intentions Fear Herbivores Reintroduction Value orientations 



Funding for this research was generously provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Memorial University of Newfoundland. We would like to thank Tom Seaton and Laurie Boeck for their contribution and support for this research and the Alaska residents who agreed to participate and collaborate on this project.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ethan D. Doney
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jerry J. Vaske
    • 2
  • Alistair J. Bath
    • 1
  • Monica T. Engel
    • 1
  • Bethany Downer
    • 1
  1. 1.Geography DepartmentMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Human Dimensions of Natural ResourcesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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