Social actors’ perceptions of wildlife: Insights for the conservation of species in Mediterranean protected areas

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Abstract: In the current Anthropocene Era, with numerous escalating challenges for biodiversity conservation, the inclusion of the social dimension into management decisions regarding wildlife and protected areas is critical to their success. By conducting 354 questionnaires in a Mediterranean protected area (the Biosphere Reserve of Bardenas Reales, Northern Spain), we aim to determine sociodemographic factors influencing knowledge levels and perceptions of species and functional groups as, emblematic and threatened. We found that hunters and animal husbandry workers knew more species than other social actors. Additionally, the perception of functional groups as threatened or emblematic differed between social actor groups, with statistically significant associations between perceptions and the characteristics of respondents. Interestingly, we found that although elusive steppe species are globally considered as endangered, these species were the least known by all social actor groups and rarely perceived as emblematic. This research is a novel approach and provides a better understanding of how perceptions can facilitate conservation decisions, particularly regarding endangered species Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12.07.2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Ecosystems Research - Environmental knowledge, Game species, Predators, Protected area, Scavengers, Steppe birds