Increased information and marketing to specific individuals could shift conservation support to less popular species

  • Polly Curtin, Sarah Papworth
  • Marine Policy, February 2018, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2017.11.006

Who supports shark and dolphin conservation and can we increase support?

What is it about?

We asked people to choose between donating money for shark or dolphin conservation. We found that people with more positive attitudes to sharks preferred donating to shark conservation, and those with a more positive attitude to dolphins preferred donating to dolphin conservation. People with a biology background were more likely to support shark conservation than dolphin conservation. The research also showed that people preferred to conserve the species they had more information about, but when the amount of information is equal, more endangered species are preferred.

Why is it important?

People worldwide donate 100s of millions of pounds annually to conservation. We show the type of people who might prefer to donate money for the conservation of either sharks or dolphins. We also show that peoples preferences can change depending on the information they recieve about a particular species. This information could help shark and dolphin conservation charities target possible supporters, and maybe even increase support from people who might not have considered supporting the conservation of these species before.


Sarah Papworth
Royal Holloway, University of London

The research was conducted by Polly Curtin as her final year undergraduate research project at Royal Holloway, and I'm really proud that she has produced such an interesting piece of research.

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The following have contributed to this page: Sarah Papworth