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Charismatic animals take the conservation spotlight3 min read

December 13, 2020 2 min read

Charismatic animals take the conservation spotlight3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Which is your favourite animal? The majestic tigers of India’s forests, the quiet grace of our Asiatic elephants, the sloth bears that roam the country’s vast wilderness, or the snakes and lizard species that coexist with humans? Researchers have released a report that says that vertebrates account for three-quarters of the conservation budget because they are popular!

Photo: Giphy

While this is bear-y (mind the pun) good news for mammals, it isn’t so much for the invertebrate species of the world, that only have one-third of the budget to bank on to survive! Also, it means that conservation money doesn’t to go animals in the order of their risk of extinction! How terrible is that.

Which animals get more funding?

Popular animals like bears, wolves, lynxes, tigers, and birds receive up to six times more money for conservation than others! The vertebrates encompass this popular category, with 72% of mammals and birds coming under it.

To find this out, scientists looked at the funding under European Union’s Habitats Directive between 1992 and 2018. The research found that the stars, like bears and wolves, took up as much funding as was given to all the invertebrates put together!

What makes an animal popular?

There are many factors that decide if an animal is charismatic. Detectability or how recognizable it is, socio-economic bias or what people think about this animal, aesthetic or how it looks, and potential are the factors scientists say make an animal popular.

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: Potential is a mysterious factor. It basically rates an animal’s ability to satisfy people’s curiosity. Nobody really knows how some animals score high and others low in this field! But it’s still an important piece to determine if this animal gets more funding or not.

So, which animals need more funding?

Well, the ones that are almost extinct! Scientists have stressed for many years that species that are on the brink of extinction should have more conservation funding but the reality is completely different.

According to the current report, most money for the Habitats Directive went to brown bears and grey wolves but neither of them are currently at the risk of endangerment.

Moreover, the Habitats Directive barely had any funding for insects, and this is despite their rate of extinction being eight times higher than that of birds or mammals!

So let’s all show a little bit more love to our neighbourhood butterflies and ladybirds so that they are around for generations to come.

If you’d like to read the entire report, you can find it here.