Who is your wolf? A study of the framing of wolves by inhabitants of the Veluwe

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Large predators are making a comeback on the European continent. The wolf in particular, has made a spectacular return to Western Europe. The reactions to the reappearance of the wolf in the Netherlands are ambiguous. The aim of this study was to expose the frames used by inhabitants of the Veluwe concerning the reappearance of the wolf and to understand what those frames tell about the ability to co-exist with such an animal. The question that guided this research was: “What frames can be identified among inhabitants concerning the reappearance of the wolf and how do these frames illustrate our ability to coexist with wild animals?” To gain insight in the content and patterns of the frames of individuals, the model of frame of references was used. The analysis showed that people used their knowledge and convictions to legitimize their values, interest and other claims. Moreover, it showed there were three groups – opponents, navigators and proponents - among the interviewees that each framed the wolf in its own way. The frames showed that for some of the inhabitants, acknowledging the wildness of the wolf is difficult. Inhabitants showed that control of the situation is important for co-existence. Keywords: Wolf – Veluwe – Frame of reference – Co-existence – Socio-ecological research
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