But there are other endangered species as well. The red rat snake. The white wartyback mussel. The dromedary jumping slug. These creatures all perform important ecological services. But it’s a lot harder to get people excited about saving a slug.
David Stokes, a biologist at the University of Washington, studied popular penguin books and found that species with a little bit of color in their plumage get a disproportionate amount of attention, even though the plain black-and-white ones may be more endangered.
Stokes feels conservation groups need to figure out what features of an animal catch our attention, and then use that to help the less-photogenic animals. Emphasizing beautiful color might help some of the “ugly” species I listed above.
For a slide show on Stokes’ work, go here.