Identifying Cinderella species: uncovering mammals with conservation flagship appeal

Smith, Robert J.; Verissimo, Diogo; Isaac, Nicholas J.B. ORCID:; Jones, Kate E.. 2012 Identifying Cinderella species: uncovering mammals with conservation flagship appeal. Conservation Letters, 5 (3). 205-212.

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International conservation NGOs rely on flagship species campaigns for fundraising but this approach has been criticized for benefiting a limited number of species. However, this criticism assumes these campaigns do not fundraise for broader issues and that alternative species with similar appeal to the target audience exist. We investigated this by: (1) recording the use of threatened mammal species in international NGO flagship campaigns, and; (2) using these data to identify “Cinderella species,” which we define as aesthetically appealing but currently overlooked species. We found these NGOs only used 80 flagship species and that 61% of their campaigns only raised funds for the species itself. We also found these existing flagships are generally large and have forward-facing eyes and that there are 183 other threatened species with similar traits. Thus, the current approach is overly limited but NGOs could overcome this by adopting some of these Cinderella species as new flagships.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment > BD - 3.4 - Provide science-based advice ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 1755-263X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The document attached is the author’s final manuscript version of the journal article, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer review process. Some differences between this and the publisher’s version remain. You are advised to consult the publisher’s version if you wish to cite from this article. The definitive version is available at
Additional Keywords: charismatic megafauna, conservation fundraising, flagship species, mammals, marketing
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Date made live: 31 Jul 2012 15:25 +0 (UTC)

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