Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2018 Sep 26;13(9):e0203694. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203694. eCollection 2018.

Popular interest in vertebrates does not reflect extinction risk and is associated with bias in conservation investment.

Author information

1
School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, United Kingdom.
2
Centre for Geography Environment and Society, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
3
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
4
C/O Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
5
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Abstract

The interrelationship between public interest in endangered species and the attention they receive from the conservation community is the 'flywheel' driving much effort to abate global extinction rates. Yet big international conservation non-governmental organisations have typically focused on the plight of a handful of appealing endangered species, while the public remains largely unaware of the majority. We quantified the existence of bias in popular interest towards species, by analysing global internet search interest in 36,873 vertebrate taxa. Web search interest was higher for mammals and birds at greater risk of extinction, but this was not so for fish, reptiles and amphibians. Our analysis reveals a global bias in popular interest towards vertebrates that is undermining incentives to invest financial capital in thousands of species threatened with extinction. Raising the popular profile of these lesser known endangered and critically endangered species will generate clearer political and financial incentives for their protection.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center