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The (Hungry) Wolf is Back! Conflict Expansion in Wildlife Protection

Conflict
Institutions
Public Administration
Marlene Jugl
Bocconi University
Marlene Jugl
Bocconi University
Kai Wegrich
Hertie School of Governance

Abstract

The wolf is back in many European countries. Protected by the status of endangered species by EU law, and supported by environmental groups, the wolf has made increasingly strong inroads into Western European countries. With wolf population growing, the potential risks of wolfs for farmers' livestock has been an increasingly pressing issue in some German regions. This paper explores the conflict expansion in the German federal state of Brandenburg, which has the highest wolf population in Germany (together with the border state Saxony). The paper analyses how the increasing wolf population has been met by increasing complaints and protests by farmers and rural citizens, and how the state government has responded. We are exploring the state government's response to conflict expansion through a theoretical lens that combines Wilson's concept of 'turf protection' and approaches stressing 'blame avoidance' as a key motivation of institutional design. The paper looks at how the institutional regime for conflict management in the state of Brandenburg has evolved over the last decade. We use expert interviews, document analysis and media content analysis as methods.