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Wildlife species preferences differ among children in continental and island locations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2017

Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management, 4217 Jordan II, Box 8008, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Department of Biological Sciences and W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Box 7617, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
*Correspondence: Hannah G. Shapiro email:


Efforts to prioritize wildlife for conservation benefit from an understanding of public preferences for particular species, yet no studies have integrated species preferences with key attributes of the conservation landscape such as whether species occur on islands (where invasive exotics are the primary extinction threat) or continents (where land use change is the primary extinction threat). In this paper, we compare wildlife species preferences among children from a continental location (North Carolina, USA, n = 433) and an island location (Andros Island, The Bahamas, n = 197). Children on the island preferred feral domesticated species and different types of taxa than mainland children, perhaps due to the strongly divergent species richness between the regions (e.g. island children showed greater preferences for invertebrates, lizards and aquatic species). Boys preferred fish, birds and lizards more than girls, whereas girls preferred mammals. The fact that island children showed strong preferences for invasive species suggests challenges for conservation efforts on islands, where controlling invasive exotic species is often of paramount importance, but can conflict with cultural preferences for these same species.

Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2017 

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