The more liked, the better protection

The more liked, the better protection

You hear sometimes that we have to protect entire ecosystems, not individual species. There are also advocates for the so-called canopy method, which is the idea that young animals from the environment of a distinct species benefit from it when they are protected.

For example, China has worked so hard to protect the beloved giant panda that at least some native birds and mammals from the panda’s habitat are protected as well, says Stuart Beam of Duke University. Think of the Pheasant Ladybird and the endangered snub-nosed golden monkey.

Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis In contrast, a frog found only in the Bengal tiger’s habitat in the Western Ghats, India, has not benefited from large investments in the tiger’s habitat, Owen says. The frog has special needs: fast-flowing water, preferably without roads.

Bem also made the comment: It’s clear that rational methods can have flaws and make an excuse to “avoid hard choices,” he says. According to him, government agencies that rely solely on the numbers will have space to allow the species to go extinct.

Most animal lovers would probably agree that charisma is unquestionable. We can no longer make a list of animals we love or even beautiful? Yes, says Bob Smith, professor of conservation at the University of Kent. The animals even have a name: “Cinderella species”: most of them are endangered animals, as evidenced by internet searches, they are beloved, but are not used as artifacts. Think a tamaru, a wild ass, or a cozumel raccoon – and there’s more. “Lesser known and less attractive animals can, with a little extra marketing effort, become iconic species,” Smith says.

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In a recent study, another myth about “mascot animals” is dispelled, which is that they do not contribute to the emergence of places rich in species and endangered. The model developed by Smith demonstrates that in the most important protected areas there are more than 500 iconic species and “Cinderella animals”, including mammals, birds and reptiles. Increased interest in these species could spur funding and publicity campaigns to protect the habitats.

Smith says he has nothing against panda and tigers. I thought it was beautiful, which is why I went into nature conservation. But as environmentalists, we need to make sure that people also start to love other animals.

Christine Delamore He is a National Geographic editor and wildlife expert, and “fond of underappreciated animals”.

This article appeared in the fourth edition of National Geographic Magazine 2021.

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