Volume 5, 2007, pp 435-455
Date: 07 Dec 2006

Comparison of funding and demand for the conservation of the charismatic koala with those for the critically endangered wombat Lasiorhinus krefftii

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Abstract

This study contrasts the actual conservation spending and the Australian public’s demand for conservation funding for two Australian mammal species, the koala and the northern hairy-nosed wombat. It involves a survey of 204 members of the Australian public. Willingness to fund conservation action to protect the northern hairy-nosed wombat was found to be higher than that for the koala despite the koala’s immense popularity. The critically endangered status of the northern-hairy nosed wombat and the more secure conservation status of the koala is a factor likely to have influenced the comparative willingness-to-pay decisions. Actual annual conservation expenditure for both species is lower than the estimated aggregate willingness-to-pay for their conservation. Furthermore, conservation funding for the koala is much more than that for the northern hairy-nosed wombat even though the estimated public willingness-to-pay (demand) for funding koala conservation was less than for this wombat species. Reasons for this are suggested. They may also help to explain misalignment between demand for conservation funding of other species involving differences in charisma and endangerment.