Animal-related attitudes and activities in an urban population

Authors: Bjerke, Tore; Østdahl, Torbjørn

Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1 June 2004, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 109-129(21)


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We surveyed residents' attitudes toward common urban animals and their participation in animal-oriented activities in the city of Trondheim, Norway. The results show that people most like small birds, squirrels, butterflies, hedgehogs, ducks, geese and dogs, and dislike bats, snails, invertebrate species, mice and rats. Birds of prey, foxes, cats, bumblebees, magpies, pigeons, badgers, gulls, grasshoppers and crows received a neutral ranking. Generally, females more than males liked the popular and neutral species, while males more than females liked the less-preferred animals. A negative association was found between age of respondents and preferences for birds of prey, dogs, cats, badgers, bats, mice and rats. This relation was positive for some invertebrate species, and small and medium-sized birds. A positive correlation was found between educational level of the respondents and preference scores for most of the species listed. Watching television programs about nature (59% often/very often) and watching/feeding birds (41%) were the most frequently reported animal-related activities. When walking in the neighborhood, important animal-related motives for doing this were to observe birds (42%) and to observe mammals (34%). Interest in bird observation and television programs about nature increased with increasing age. Few respondents reported experiencing problems with wildlife, but dogs and cats were more often (36%) considered to create problems. These results indicate that wildlife plays an important role in shaping urban residents' daily experiences, and that both animals and their habitats should have a higher priority in urban planning and management.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

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