Images of tigers and elephants are among the most common threatened mammals used by conservation organisations as ‘flagships’ to promote fundraising – but new research led by the University suggests that other threatened ‘Cinderella species’ could prove equally effective.
At the moment, only 80 flagship species are used by these NGOs, and more than 60% of their campaigns only raised funds for that species itself, the study found. These flagship species tend to have a high body mass and forward-facing eyes – because people find large animals with a human-like face more appealing. But, by using a similarity score approach, the a team led by Dr. Bob Smith identified that there are other species which, like Cinderella in the children’s story, share this aesthetic appeal but are currently overlooked.
You can find my latest publication at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00229.x/abstract