Advertisement

The Ethics of Preservation: Where Psychology and Conservation Collide

  • Mark J. Estren
Chapter
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)

Abstract

Traditional conservation campaigns often rely on “marquee” animals to which humans are viscerally attracted for psychological reasons. These campaigns eventually create donor fatigue through repetition—and are unable to raise awareness and funding for equally important but less anthropomorphically attractive species. Conservation advocates can overcome these shortcomings by relying on psychologically compelling alternatives to anthropomorphic attraction: sophistication of perception, humor, and the human ability to redefine our environment.

Bibliography

  1. Adam, D., and C. Cole. “Meerkats, Chimps and Pandas: The Cute and the Furry Attract Scientists’ Attention and Conservation Funding.” The Guardian, May 22, 2010.Google Scholar
  2. Angier, N. “A Masterpiece of Nature? Yuck!” The New York Times, August 10, 2010: D1.Google Scholar
  3. Batt, S. “Human Attitudes Toward Animals in Relation to Species Similarity to Humans: A Multivariate Approach.” Bioscience Horizons, April 21, 2009. doi: 10.1093/biohorizons/hzp021.
  4. Bowen-Jones, E., and A. Entwistle. “Identifying Appropriate Flagship Species: The Importance of Culture and Local Contexts.” Oryx 36, no. 02 (2002): 189–195.Google Scholar
  5. Cacioppo, J. T., and R. C. Petty. “Effects of Message Repetition on Argument Processing, Recall, and Persuasion.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology 10, no. 1 (1989): 3–12.Google Scholar
  6. Darwin, C. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. London: John Murray, 1872.Google Scholar
  7. Dell’Amore, C. “20,000 Species Are Near Extinction: Is It Time to Rethink How We Decide Which to Save?” National Geographic, December 16, 2013.Google Scholar
  8. Dudgeon, D., A. H. Arthington, M. O. Gessner, Z.-I. Kawabata, D. J. Knowler, C. Lévêque, R. J. Naiman, A.-H. Prieur-Richard, D. Soto, M. L. J. Stiassny and C. A. Sullivan. “Freshwater Biodiversity: Importance, Threats, Status and Conservation Challenges.” Biological Reviews 81, no. 02 (2006): 163–182. doi: 10.1017/S1464793105006950.
  9. Estren, M. J. “The Neoteny Barrier: Seeking Respect for the Non-Cute.” Journal of Animal Ethics 2, no. 1 (2012): 6–11.Google Scholar
  10. Eveleth, R. “Zoo Illogical: Ugly Animals Need Protection from Extinction, Too.” Scientific American, December 8, 2010.Google Scholar
  11. Fleming, P. A., and P. W. Bateman. “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Which Australian Terrestrial Mammal Species Attract Most Research?” Mammal Review, March 6, 2016.Google Scholar
  12. Freud, S. “Civilization and Its Discontents.” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, translated by J. Strachey, vol. 21, 64–145. London: Hogarth Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  13. Garger, I. “Global Psyche: One Nation Under Cute.” Psychology Today, March 1, 2007.Google Scholar
  14. Gill, V. “Are These Animals too ‘Ugly’ to be Saved?” BBC News Magazine, November 20, 2012.Google Scholar
  15. Gould, S. J. The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1980.Google Scholar
  16. Hewitt, D. “The Earth Times Asks: Are Conservation Groups Right to Prioritize ‘Iconic’ Species?” Earth Times, May 21, 2012.Google Scholar
  17. Isaac, N. J. B., S. T. Turvey, B. Collen, C. Waterman, and J. E. M. Baillie. “Mammals on the EDGE: Conservation Priorities Based on Threat and Phylogeny.” PLoS One, March 2007.Google Scholar
  18. Kanagavel, A., R. Raghavan, and D. Verissimo, “Beyond the ‘General Public’: Implications of Audience Characteristics for Promoting Species Conservation in the Western Ghats Hotspot, India.” Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment 43, no. 2 (2014): 138–148.Google Scholar
  19. Langlois, J. H., L. Kalakanis, A. J. Rubenstein, A. Larson, M. Hallam and M. Smooth. “Maxims or Myths of Beauty? A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review.” Psychological Bulletin 126, no. 3 (2000): 390–423.Google Scholar
  20. Marshall, M. “Eight Ugly Animals We Should Save Anyway.” BBC Earth, October 17, 2014.Google Scholar
  21. Møller, A. P., and R. Thornhill. “Bilateral Symmetry and Sexual Selection: A Meta-analysis.” American Naturalist 151, (1998): 174–192. doi: 10.1086/286110.
  22. Nelson, B. “13 of the Ugliest Animals on the Planet.” Mother Nature Network, February 16, 2016. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/13-of-the-ugliest-animals-on-the-planet/blobfish#top-desktop.
  23. Rutherford, F. “9 ‘Ugly’ Animals Going Extinct That Need Love Too.” BuzzFeed, September 16, 2015. www.buzzfeed.com/fionarutherford/all-you-need-is-love#.jw5dagLdb.
  24. “Save the Blobfish! 5 Ugly Endangered Animals That Need Our Love.” Discover Magazine, September 16, 2013.Google Scholar
  25. Schlegel, J., and R. Rupf. “Attitudes Towards Potential Animal Flagship Species in Nature Conservation: A Survey Among Students of Different Educational Institutions.” Journal for Nature Conservation 18, no. 4 (2010): 278–290.Google Scholar
  26. “Smartphones Merge into Homogeneous Mass as ‘Flagship Fatigue’ Bites.” The Register, 30 January, 2015.Google Scholar
  27. Soniak, M. “Why You Want to Save the Whales, But Not the Crickets.” The Week, March 3, 2014. www.theweek.com/articles/450037/why-want-save-whales-but-not-crickets.
  28. Trimble, M. J., and R. J. Van Aarde. “Species Inequality in Scientific Study.” Conservation Biology 24, no. 3 (2010): 886–890.Google Scholar
  29. Watt, S. The Ugly Animals: We Can’t All Be Pandas. Stroud, UK: The History Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  30. Wenner, M. “Smile! It Could Make You Happier.” Scientific American, September 1, 2009.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark J. Estren
    • 1
  1. 1.Fort MyersUSA

Personalised recommendations