The role of a flagship species in the formation of conservation intentions
Smith, Amy M., and Sutton, Stephen G. (2008) The role of a flagship species in the formation of conservation intentions. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 13 (2). pp. 127-140.
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Environmental agencies increasingly use flagship species (those popular, relatively large, charismatic animals) as tools to trigger concern for the species and motivate community members to conserve the flagship species and its habitat. However, little research has considered the mechanisms behind which this strategy works. Using the platypus as a flagship species, this study aimed to (a) determine whether exposure to the platypus flagship and/or (b) a person's level of environmental concern influences intentions to conserve the platypus and its habitat. Logistic regression analyses of questionnaire responses showed that exposure to educational materials promoting the conservation of the platypus and its habitat was a strong and reliable predictor of feelings of concern specific to the welfare of the platypus and its habitat. This concern influenced intentions to conserve the platypus and its habitat. It is hoped that managers will use these findings to improve their uses of flagship species to motivate community-wide conservation efforts.