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Local insects as flagship species to promote nature conservation? A survey among primary school children on their attitudes toward invertebrates

By J. Schlegel, G. Breuer, R. Rupf

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Flagship species play an important role in promoting nature conservation. However, although the significance of invertebrates in biodiversity and ecosystem services is undisputed, they are rarely used as flagship species. A focused approach to better understand the drivers of differences in attitudes toward invertebrates, and insects in particular, would be helpful for selecting and establishing insects as flagship species, especially in a local context for local conservation purposes. Using a standard questionnaire, a total of 363 children, predominantly aged 10 to 12 years, were asked about their attitudes toward 18 invertebrate species indigenous to Switzerland. The species, 14 insect species and four other invertebrates, were individually presented in a color photograph without any background information. Based on ordinal regression models, the survey revealed substantial affinity rating differences across the invertebrates selected. Gender, species knowledge, preferred leisure activities, and family membership of a nature protection organization proved to be significant predictors for children's attitudes in general, and for some specific species in particular. Additionally, existing species knowledge was analyzed and was found to neither depend on school location (urban/rural) nor on gender. The authors propose the inclusion of local invertebrates and species knowledge in the curriculum in early years at primary school while applying teaching methods that allow for real-life experience.

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 229-245
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.2752/089279315x14219211661732
Language English
Author Address Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW, Gruental, 8820 Wadenswil,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Anthrozoology
  3. Arthropods
  4. Attitudes
  5. Biodiversity
  6. Children
  7. Conservation
  8. Countries
  9. Developed countries
  10. Drivers
  11. Ecosystems
  12. Education
  13. Europe
  14. Humans
  15. Insects
  16. Invertebrates
  17. Mammals
  18. Membership
  19. Men
  20. models
  21. OECD countries
  22. peer-reviewed
  23. predictions
  24. Primates
  25. Protection
  26. Questionnaires
  27. rural areas
  28. Schools
  29. Switzerland
  30. urban areas
  31. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed