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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 1889–1892 | Cite as

Anthropomorphism as a conservation tool

  • Alvin A. Y.-H. Chan
Brief Communication

Abstract

Anthropomorphism has the potential to aid conservation biologist conserve target species by developing empathy among the public, effectively promoting considerate practice. There is a stigma associated with anthropomorphism in research because it often precludes unbiased data and compromises fact based results. However, I propose that anthropomorphism can be a means to accomplish the goals of conservation and management. Developing public support has been notoriously difficult, but encouraging anthropomorphism (i.e., attributing human characteristics to nonhuman animals) could help conservation biologists develop more empathy toward target species. Highlighting research that promotes animals as being similar to humans could cause the public to exhibit more conservation considerate practices. Therefore, anthropomorphism should be encouraged when appropriate.

Keywords

Conservation management Empathy Public support Awareness 

Notes

Conflict of interest

I declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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