Wildlife reintroduction projects often face resistance from local residents who see potential conflicts with the species or lack trust or confidence in the agencies and professionals involved in reintroduction. Yet the linkages between trust, confidence, risk perceptions, attitudes towards the species and local support for its reintroduction are not well known. The Dual-Mode Model of Cooperation and Cognitive Hierarchy Model were theoretical frameworks used to shed light on these linkages by exploring the potential roles trust and confidence play as mediators between risk perceptions and attitudes towards, and support for, reintroduced elk in Tennessee (USA). A mail survey of 1005 residents living in the five-county area surrounding the North Cumberland Elk Restoration Zone assessed resident attitudes and risk perceptions towards the reintroduced elk, trust towards the managing wildlife agency and support for continued conservation efforts. A structural equation model revealed that trust and confidence play positive roles in mitigating risk perceptions and improving support for the reintroduction of elk. The findings confirm the roles public trust and confidence play in wildlife reintroductions and should help agencies work towards building local trust and confidence, minimizing risks, improving attitudes and increasing the chances for successful outcomes for the species and people.