The impact of access to an ultrasonic scaring device on human fear of wolves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The increase of wolves in Scandinavia is associated with socio-ecological conflicts, and the conservation and management of this species is as much a political and socio-cultural challenge as a biological matter. One component in this conflict is people's feeling of fear, but there have been very few evaluations of management interventions aimed at addressing human fear of wolves. Based on the theory of human-environment interaction, this paper presents a first attempt to evaluate the effect of introducing a hand-held ultrasonic scaring device. A total of 27 persons living in wolf territories had access to the device for six months. No significant effect on participants' appraisal of wolves, trust in managing authorities, or selfreported fear could be identified. The investigated psychological variables were stable over time in a reference sample of people in the large-carnivore counties (n = 202). The introduction of the device was largely rejected by the public. In-depth interviews with 10 persons who declined the invitation to have access to the device revealed that the device was considered an irrelevant solution to the conflict between humans and wolves, and that people lacked trust in the technology. It is concluded that the potential in using an ultrasonic device to reduce fear of wolves seems very limited in the present context. Further interventions to address human fear must be identified in dialogue with the people affected, and should preferably be based on psychological principles.


External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • Social Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalWildlife Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch