Research on human–wildlife interactions has largely focused on the magnitude of wildlife-caused damage, and the patterns and correlates of human attitudes and behaviors. We assessed the role of five pathways through which various correlates potentially influence human responses toward wild animals, namely, value orientation, social interactions (i.e. social cohesion and support), dependence on resources such as agriculture and livestock, risk perception and nature of interaction with the wild animal. We specifically evaluated their influence on people’s responses toward two large carnivores, the snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus in an agropastoral landscape in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. We found that the nature of the interaction (location, impact and length of time since an encounter or depredation event), and risk perception (cognitive and affective evaluation of the threat posed by the animal) had a significant influence on attitudes and behaviors toward the snow leopard. For wolves, risk perception and social interactions (the relationship of people with local institutions and inter-community dynamics) were significant. Our findings underscore the importance of interventions that reduce people’s threat perceptions from carnivores, improve their connection with nature and strengthen the conservation capacity of local institutions especially in the context of wolves.