Showing only “doom and gloom” would cripple conservation action

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(Mercy Waithira and Jude Fuhnwi 2 June 2017; Photo: Rachid El Khalmichi)

Studies show that people can be overwhelmed by information depicting the magnitude of damage on wildlife and their habitats, causing the perception of an irreversible and helpless situation.

Prolonged and worsening habitat loss and the species extinction crisis are some of the main environmental headlines dominating conservation news today.

Vulture declines in Africa are a serious and growing issue that some experts believe, requires a positive mobilising approach to fully recover the populations on the continent. Despite the seemingly grim outlook for the vultures, BirdLife International and partners across Africa are taking the approach to show that the fight to protect vultures is not a lost battle and that there is hope to turn the situation around, if we work together.

“People are motivated to participate where they feel the outcomes are positive,” said Dr Niki Harré, Psychologist from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Dr Harré was speaking at the first-ever global Conservation Optimism Summit, which was held at the Dulwich College in London with support from the University of Oxford, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS), the Zoological Society of London and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The summit brought together individuals from diverse professional backgrounds from across the world.  Scientists, psychologists, artists, journalists and students all linked with marine or terrestrial conservation in some way attended the event to celebrate success stories in conservation and inspire positivity.

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