Beyond the “General Public”: Implications of Audience Characteristics for Promoting Species Conservation in the Western Ghats Hotspot, India
- 293 Downloads
Understanding how different audience groups perceive wildlife is crucial for the promotion of biodiversity conservation, especially given the key role of flagship species in conservation campaigns. Although the heterogeneity in preferences reinforces the need for campaigns tailored to specific target audiences, many conservation education and awareness campaigns still claim to target the “general public”. Audiences can be segmented according to social, economic, and cultural criteria across which species perceptions are known to vary. Different studies have investigated the preferences of different groups towards certain wildlife species, but these are largely confined to a single conservation stakeholder group, such as tourists, local communities, or potential donors in western countries. In this study, we seek to determine from a multi-stakeholder perspective, audience characteristics that influence perceptions towards wildlife at Valparai, a fragmented plateau in the Western Ghats region of the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka Hotspot. We found that stakeholder group membership was the most important characteristic followed by gender. While some characteristics had a wide-scale effect others were restricted to a few species. Our results emphasize the need to design conservation campaigns with specific audiences in mind, instead of the very often referred to “general public”.
KeywordsCommunity-based conservation Flagship species India Stakeholder Species perceptions Valparai
The first author would like to thank S. Kumar, T. Augustine, P.A. Kanagavel, and Vijayalakshmi for assisting in field logistics and data collection. Discussions with S.M. Saaduddin and T. Immanuel and those with M.M. Pillai, A. Nair, S. Deborah, S. Philip, and P. Balaji helped develop the sections on religion and geographical origin, respectively, towards which the first author is thoroughly grateful. The authors are also grateful to S. Joseph of CRG & ATREE for providing GIS layers, which were created with support from the Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation (RSG 30.08.09). Thanks are due to C. Lawson, L. Cugnière, H. Newing and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the draft manuscript. The study was financially supported by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent and North of England Zoological Society (NEZS) Chester Zoo Studentships 2010.
- Arjunan, M., C. Holmes, J. Puyravaud, and P. Davidar. 2006. Do developmental initiatives influence local attitudes toward conservation? A case study from the Kalakad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, India. Journal of Environmental Management 79: 188–197. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.06.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Daniel, J.C. 2002. The book of Indian reptiles and amphibians. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- DCO-TN. 2001. Census—2001. Retrieved 2 May, 2011, from http://census2001.tn.nic.in/pca2001.aspx.
- Guzik, D. 2004. Levictus 11—Clean and unclean animals. Retrieved 21 August, 2011, from http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0311.htm.
- Jusoff, K., and S.A.A. Samah. 2011. Environmental sustainability: What Islam propagates. World Applied Sciences Journal 12: 46–53.Google Scholar
- Kehimkar, I. 2008. The book of Indian butterflies. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kumar, M.A. 2006. Effect of habitat fragmentation on Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) ecology and behaviour patterns in a conflict-prone plantation landscape of the Anamalai hills, Western Ghats, India. Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation, UK, 29.Google Scholar
- Kumara, H.N. 2007. Impact of local hunting on abundance of large mammals in three protected areas of the Western Ghats, Karnataka. Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation, UK, 48.Google Scholar
- Lee, P.C., and N.E.C. Priston. 2005. Human attitudes to primates: Perceptions of pests, conflict and consequences for primate conservation. In Commensalism and conflict: The Primate-human interface, ed. J.D. Paterson, 1–23. Winniipeg: Hignell Printing.Google Scholar
- Newing, H. 2010. Conducting research in conservation: Social science methods and practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Prater, S.H. 2005. The book of Indian animals. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Raghavan, R., A. Ali, N. Dahanukar, and A. Rosser. 2011. Is the Deccan Mahseer, Tor khudree (Sykes, 1839) (Pisces: Cyprinidae) fishery in the Western Ghats Hotspot sustainable? A participatory approach to stock assessment. Fisheries Research 110: 29–38. doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2011.03.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ressurreição, A., J. Gibbons, M. Kaiser, T.P. Dentinho, T. Zarzycki, C. Bentley, M. Austen, D. Burdon, J. Atkins, R.S. Santos, and G. Edwards-Jones. 2012b. Different cultures, different values: the role of cultural variation in public’s WTP for marine species conservation. Biological Conservation 145: 148–159. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sarker, A.H.M.R., and E. Røskaft. 2010. Human attitudes towards conservation of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Bangladesh. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 2: 316–327.Google Scholar
- Singh, M., M.A. Kumar, H.N. Kumara, A.K. Sharma, and W. Kaumanns. 2002. Distribution, population structure, and conservation of lion-tailed Macaques (Macaca silenus) in the Anaimalai Hills, Western Ghats, India. American Journal of Primatology 57: 91–102. doi: 10.1002/ajp.10037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sridhar, H., T.R.S. Raman, and D. Mudappa. 2008. Mammal persistence and abundance in tropical rainforest remnants in the southern Western Ghats, India. Current Science 94: 748–757.Google Scholar