BEAUTY OR THE BEAST: UNDERSTANDING ATTITUDES ABOUT WOLVES IN WASHINGTON STATE AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR WOLF MANAGEMENT
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Washington State’s Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan has struggled to respond to conflicts between humans and wolves. This has led to an increase in cultural stratification between pro-wolf community members and anti-wolf community members. The Plan dedicates a disproportionate amount of time to biological science and does little to account for variance in human behavior. In this paper, I provide a series of personal stories that illustrate how human-animal relationships are developed and preserved through experience and why ingrained conceptualizations are difficult to transcend. I then draw on existing research to explore conceptualizations of wolves in the human imagination throughout history, the dominant wolf narratives that emerge from these conceptualizations, and use the psychological theories of Social Dominance and Right Wing Authoritarianism to understand the differences in behavior between pro-wolf and anti-wolf communities. Anti-wolf community members were higher in images related to SDO and RWA than their pro-wolf counterparts.