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Communication of flagship species in conservation: lessons from invasive management projects

Abstract

With the increase of public awareness and of their involvement in conservation projects, flagship species have become a common tool to appeal to people’s interest. Yet, the effectiveness of this approach depends on the proper communication of the importance of conserving these species. Using two projects aiming to control the invasive American mink, I illustrate how communication could positively or negatively affect the involvement of the public, and consequently the success of the projects. The Scottish mink control project managed to increase the number of volunteers involved by adapting the selection of flagship species and their communication to the public needs. Meanwhile, the Spanish project, while no volunteers are involved yet, has increased the public awareness using the European mink as native flagship species. However, as its nativeness remains unconfirmed I suggest there is a high risk of potential miscommunication with the public that can negatively impact their perception.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Catherine Preece for revising the English. I belong to the research group Biodiversitat i evolució en ecosistemes mediterranis SGR-00913 from CREAF.

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Correspondence to Yolanda Melero.

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Communicated by David Hawksworth.

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Melero, Y. Communication of flagship species in conservation: lessons from invasive management projects. Biodivers Conserv 26, 2973–2978 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-017-1389-6

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Keywords

  • Communication
  • Flagship species
  • Invasive species
  • Management
  • Volunteers