Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Attitudes towards wildlife conservation, New South Wales, Australia (#52)

Megan C Fabian 1 , Amelia S Cook 1 , Julie M Old 1
  1. School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

People's attitudes towards wildlife conservation are of particular importance as they have an impact on conservation outcomes. Major threats to Australian wildlife include exotic weeds, changing fire regimes, climate change, mining activities, grazing pressure, disease, habitat loss and introduced predators, which highlights the need for wildlife conservation in Australia. The attitudes of NSW residents towards wildlife conservation were captured to gain a better understanding of how people relate to the conservation of native Australian wildlife. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 312 NSW residents to participate in an online questionnaire in a cross-sectional study. An ‘ecoscientistic’ attitude was the most commonly held attitude, which means wildlife are appreciated for the role they play within our ecosystem. Furthermore, growing up around animals had a strong impact on wildlife attitudes. However, the type of attitude held is dependent upon the wildlife species in question. In particular, people showed a preference for conserving mammals. Despite the attitudes expressed in the questionnaire indicating strong conservation attitudes, the participants’ intention to engage in conservation behaviours was low. Rates of participation in conservation was low due to lack of time, money, knowledge and impact of health and fitness levels. Strong conservation attitudes were present in the NSW population, and should be harnessed to inform future policy and management decisions, especially for action that promotes conservation preferences for non-mammal species that are under-represented and endangered. Further research is required to identify how to overcome barriers to conservation action.