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The role of cultural norms in shaping attitudes towards amphibians in Cape Town, South Africa

By P. Brom, P. Anderson, A. Channing, L. G. Underhill

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Urban ecosystems are increasingly viewed as an important component within strategies for wildlife conservation but are shaped as much by natural systems as they are by social and political processes. At the garden scale, attitudes and preferences govern design and maintenance choices including the decision to encourage or discourage specific faunal presence. At the global scale, charismatic taxa that are well-liked attract more conservation funding and volunteer stewardship. Amphibians are a class of animals that are both loved and loathed making them a suitable subject for comparing and unpacking the drivers of preference and attitudes towards animals. We conducted a mixed methods survey of 192 participants in three adjacent neighbourhoods in Cape Town, South Africa. The survey included both quantitative and qualitative questions which were analysed thematically and used to explain the quantitative results. The results revealed that attitudes formed during childhood tended to be retained into adulthood, were shaped by cultural norms, childhood experiences and the attitudes of primary care-givers. The findings are significant for environmental education programmes aimed at building connectedness to nature and biophilic values.

Publication Title PLoS One
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages e0219331
ISBN/ISSN 1932-6203
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0219331
Language eng
Notes 1932-6203Brom, PetaOrcid: 0000-0002-9183-438xAnderson, PippinChanning, AlanUnderhill, Leslie GJournal ArticleUnited StatesPLoS One. 2020 Feb 24;15(2):e0219331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219331. eCollection 2020.
Author Address Department of Environmental and Geographic Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North West University, South Africa.Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adolescents
  2. Adults
  3. Amphibians
  4. Animals
  5. Attitudes
  6. Bonds
  7. Children
  8. Culture
  9. Females
  10. Humans
  11. Males
  12. preschools
  13. South Africa