Nature's Beauty Pageants Mean Life or Death When It Comes to Conservation

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By Jessica Knoth

Tigers, elephants, gorillas, dolphins, sharks…you can picture each one, right? That’s because they are charismatic megafauna, or, in other words, species that are compelling because they are viewed as beautiful, impressive, or cute. Ironically, many of these species also happen to be endangered. A 2001 study by Anna Gunnthorsdottir found that there are stronger efforts to conserve some endangered species over others, simply because the animal is perceived to be physically attractive. The increased funding, habitat protection, and policy support for these species due to their perception by the general public can lead to more conservation successes.

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Image: A WWF ad commenting on the disparity between terrestrial and marine animal conservation

 

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