BIM execution Animals like elephants and tigers enjoy the privileges of special conservation efforts. However, these conservation efforts keep these creatures more visible in the media and for longer, possibly giving the impression that they are more abundant than they actually are. As a result, over time, people take for granted that such animals are protected and better cared for than other species, and that they don’t require further attention.
A new study has attempted to quantify the effect of this curious cycle, with its authors writing that the situation has “dramatically worsened over the last decades despite massive cultural and commercial presence.”
Led by Franck Courchamp, a senior researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, the authors have reported that, contrary to widespread opinion that conservation efforts “disproportionately benefit charismatic species, the ten most charismatic animals are at high risk of imminent extinction in the wild.” These animals are the cheetah, elephant, giraffe, gorilla, leopard, lion, panda, polar bear, tiger and the wolf.
They used a mix of large-scale online surveys, questionnaires to primary school children in England, France and Spain, a survey of animals displayed on the websites of zoos in the 100 largest cities in the world and a survey of animals featured on the covers of animated movies produced by Disney and Pixar to arrive at their conclusions. One of them is that the people have a “biased perception of [the animals’] abundance, based more on their profusion in our culture than on their natural populations,” and so ignores them.
According to them, these biases arise from the free use of images of rare and threatened species by organisations and companies in their product marketing. As a result, these species have become ‘beloved but ignored’.