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Ecuadorian Children’s Willingness to Protect Endangered Species – Identifying Behavioral Predictors in a Biodiversity Hotspot

In: Society & Animals
Authors:
Milan Büscher Didactics of Biology, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Osnabrück University Osnabrück Germany

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5479-1213
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Lea Stein Didactics of Biology, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Osnabrück University Osnabrück Germany

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María Elisa Durán Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacy, University of Cuenca Cuenca Ecuador

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5726-0298
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María-Elena Cazar Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacy, University of Cuenca Cuenca Ecuador

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5228-3514
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Philip Hillebrand Department of Romance Languages, Osnabrück University Osnabrück Germany

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Susanne Schlünder Department of Romance Languages, Osnabrück University Osnabrück Germany

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Florian Fiebelkorn Didactics of Biology, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Osnabrück University Germany

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7972-6925
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Abstract

The loss of biodiversity is a problem that particularly affects biodiversity hotspots. Children play a crucial role in the conservation of endangered species. One important prerequisite for conservation behavior is the willingness to protect endangered animal species. The present study investigated the influence of several variables on Ecuadorian children’s willingness to protect domestic endangered animal species (N = 154; MAge = 8.57; SD = 0.55; 48.1% female). Gender, caring beliefs (a subdimension of the wildlife value orientation), dispositional empathy with endangered animals, and threat perception of the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) toward humans were strong predictors of the willingness to protect them. Conversely, psychological distance, and threat perception of both the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca) had no significant influence on willingness to protect. However, their effects may be indirect. The results of this study are relevant for biodiversity conservation and educators in schools.

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