The topical presentation (to be found in the conference's hand programme) of the panel reads:
It is probable that human attitudes towards large avian or mammalian predators have been ambivalent since prehistoric times: predators have simultaneously been both admired and revered for their audacity and strength, and maligned as competitors or even predators of man. Some species such as the Gray Wolf, Lion and Tiger continue to have a significant role in folklore and popular culture. A diverse literature exists on the impacts of predators on society, the types of predator folklore and human attitudes towards predators in different parts of the world. Management of predator populations and their conservation remain a source of serious controversy even in post-industrial societies.
However, human-predator interactions and discussions on predator policies have been rarely discussed from the perspective of environmental history. This panel will include histories of perceived physical danger and human fear of predators, controversies related to predator management issues, causes and consequences of persecution of predators, cultural constructs associated with predators, environmental correlates of predator folklore, and personal experiences of predators. The panel has been organized in the hope that environmental history may help us make sense of the diverse human sentiments toward predators.