Conservation Shouldn't Be Like a Club that Only Lets Pretty People InOur human biases make us prefer certain animals over others, which is fine for pets, but not a good idea when it comes to conservation and the protection of endangered species. The authors of a recent study titled The new Noah's Ark: beautiful and useful species only had this to say on this topic:
Most of the world's species at risk of extinction are neither particularly attractive nor obviously useful, and consequently lack conservation support. In contrast, the public, politicians, scientists, the media and conservation organisations are extremely sympathetic to a select number of well-known and admired species, variously called flagship, charismatic, iconic, emblematic, marquee and poster species.
And while these poster species get the bulk of the help, there is little evidence that resources spent on them 'rub off' on other species that are not as charismatic.
Ugly Species Need Love TooIt almost seems like we should make an effort to specifically target ugly species for conservation to try to compensate for our bias, but that can be hard as raising money from donations is a lot harder if all you can put on your press materials are pictures of ugly (or even just very bland-looking) animals.
What do you think? Have you ever donated money or time to help protect a species that isn't cute or good-looking? I'm curious to know how many people here have experience with less popular endangered species. Please share your experience in the comments below.
You can get the full text of the study here (though there's a paywall - but the abstract is free).