Anthropomorphism as a conservation tool
- 1.3k Downloads
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.
KeywordsConservation management Empathy Public support Awareness
Conflict of interest
I declare no conflict of interest.
- Buss DM (1985) Human mate selection. Am Sci 73:47–51Google Scholar
- Meyers OE Jr, Saunders CD, Bexell SM (2009) Fostering empathy with wildlife: factors affecting free-choice learning for conservation concerns and behavior. In: Falk JH, Heimlich JE, Foutz S (eds) Free-choice learning and the environment. AltaMira Press, Plymouth, pp 39–55Google Scholar
- Wynne CDL (2007) What are animals? Why anthropomorphism is still not a scientific approach to behavior. Comp Cognit Behav Rev 2:125–135Google Scholar