In a recent analysis Woodroffe (2000) found a positive relationship between historical patterns of large carnivore extinction probability and human population density. However, much of the data in this analysis came from a period when carnivore extermination was a management objective. In order to explore the hypothesis that large carnivores can persist at high human densities when the management regime is more favourable we have repeated the analysis using up-to-date data from North America and Europe. In North America we found that large carnivore populations have increased after favourable legislation was introduced, despite further increases in human population density. In Europe we found no clear relationship between present carnivore distribution and human population density. We therefore believe that the existence of effective wildlife management structures is more important than human density per se.