Biodiversity conservation is increasingly recognized as an issue of managing people in addition to managing wildlife; therefore, understanding the values that people hold toward various aspects of wildlife can help inform policies around the conservation of species at risk. To this end, I helped conduct a survey of the British Columbian public to explore their preferences for species attributes that can help to inform conservation priorities, and found that species endemism was the most important of the measured attributes. Preferences for different species attributes were influenced by survey respondents’ gender, education, residential stability, income and ecological worldview, but not by age. Examining current British Columbian Red and Blue lists of at-risk species, I found that more-endemic species were less likely than less-endemic species to be identified as priorities across several vertebrate taxa, indicating a local, instead of global, conservation focus. Importantly, this pattern held regardless of species’ global range size.
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Thesis advisor: Mooers, Arne
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