Within a scope of Action A.2 of the LIFE DINALP BEAR project named „Attitudes of humans toward bears and brown bear management“ a qualitative sociological method of focus groups were conducted in Croatia.
Aim of this qualitative method was to determine the ranges of attitudes, opinions and perceptions of local inhabitants about the bears and brown bear management. As a target area town of Otočac and nearby village Kuterevo in mountainous region of Lika were chosen. Decision was made for two reasons. First, Otočac and Kuterevo are settlements in the bear range. Second, in Kuterevo, the Kuterevo Bear Sanctuary for orphaned brown bears is operational. Sanctuary is located at the edge of the village and is incorporated in the natural landscape. Local residents have an opportunity to meet both, free-living bears in natural habitat and those residing in sanctuary.
Interviews with two focus groups were conducted, one with non-hunters and one with hunters. Focus groups consisted of six participants in each group. Results of the analysis of the transcribed focus groups will be used to prepare a structured quantitative questionnaire for the public attitudes survey in the second phase of the A2 action.