The multi-faceted relationship of society and wildlife is partly shaped by local perception determined by cultural or economic factors and resulting in positive or negative attitudes. The approach taken may influence the survival and the range of species and speciesgroups, in particular species associated with extremely negative emotions.
Connections between local communities and wild vertebrate species were studied in four regions within the Carpathian Basin (Gömör/Gemer — Slovakia, Szilágyság/Sălaj — Romania, Gyimes/Ghimeş — Romania and Drávaszög/Baranja — Croatia). During the work, spontaneous manifestations obtained in semi-structured interviews aiming at the exploration of the locally known fauna were taken into account.
Reviewing the five generally known families of vertebrates it can be stated, that — similarly to the global trends — the perception of amphibian and reptile species is extremely negative in the Carpathian Basin just as well. Most positive attitudes are related to bird species but due to presumed or true economic reasons some birds also include less favoured species. As to mammals, large predators are seen as harmful pests for husbandry and fearful for humans. The antipathy felt for bat species is an interesting phenomenon, mostly explained by their special physical constitution and mysterious lifestyle.
The perception of local communities originating from cultural or economic factors and resulting in varying signs may have an impact on the size of the populations of certain species or species-groups. Ethnozoological research provides significant help to deeper knowledge about background of connections between local communities and species of wildlife, motivations behind the activities of society has become of paramount importance for development of conservation strategies.
The history of the Hungarian-Slovenian border region is to be understood as socio-natural history: two co-evolving entities, society and nature have always been entangled in a web of connections and reciprocal influences. It is particularly true in this border area, where ecological diversity is the result of a century-long cultivation and correlating local lifestyles and economic strategies depend heavily on the ecological and climatic conditions of the region. In view of this interdependence, we aim to provide an in-depth analysis of both human and non-human agents in a region where ethnic, national, and state relations create a thickly interwoven fabric of human network with a background of a fairly uniform and intensively cultivated environment. By doing so, we would like to challenge the idea of Anthropocene as an overarching model and bring local images to the forefront. We argue that instead of Anthropocene, members of the local communities in this border region have entered an era in which they face difficulties acting as independent agents in their environment, since they have to rely on the mediation of state-funded institutions, such as the National/Regional Parks.