For example, if marketing

For example, if marketing ARN-509 of anthropomorphized representations increases caring towards species A, this might be at the expense of conservation actions in support of the ecologically important, but unmarketed and thus uncared for, species B (see e.g. Smith et al. 2012). In addition, caring for an individual or species can compromise overall species and/or habitat conservation objectives. Take for example the behavioral outcomes following the release of the animated film Finding Nemo. Using anthropomorphism, viewers grew to care for the marine characters, especially Nemo, a juvenile

clownfish (from the genus Amphiprion). After the movie’s release, there was a reported increase in the demand for clownfish in the aquarium Foretinib clinical trial trade industry

(Harley 2005). This has led to overfishing on the reefs (Yong et al. 2011). In this case, the care-giving behavioral outcome has led to a negative conservation outcome. Anthropomorphism can also backfire by setting up expectations of human-like Selleck LY2874455 social behavior that non-human species cannot satisfy. For example, Japanese tourists at monkey feeding parks understand the feeding interaction as akin to Japanese gift-giving traditions (Knight 2005). However, the tourists are often upset that monkeys also steal food and fight with one another to access it, which they understand as a rude violation of the meaning of the feeding interaction. In another example, northern Portuguese farmers address curses to wild boar that raid their fields (Galhano-Alves 2004). Engaging wild boar in a social practice (ritual, audible cursing) suggests that the wild boar are considered to be persons violating a social pact (cf. Theodossopoulos 2005). Finally, in Japan non-native raccoons (Procyon lotor) are now a serious source of human-wildlife conflict in both residential and agricultural lands, as well as historical and biologically important sites. Hundreds of raccoons were imported into Japan following a smash hit animated cartoon

series Rascal Raccoon during the late 1970s to early 1980s. The popular cartoon series anthropomorphized the North American raccoon as harmless, cute and humorous, and a faithful human companion with enviable hygiene and that cared for children. Japanese households with raccoons, however, experiencing the second natural behavior of Procyon lotor eventually released their pet raccoons into the wild, precipitating the need for a costly ongoing nation-wide intensive raccoon eradication program (Ikeda et al. 2004). Holding other species to social norms that they cannot fulfill can create conservation problems or could hinder support for conservation actions on their behalf. Finally, being human-like is not necessarily a good thing, and non-human species sometimes acquire negative social stereotypes. For example in Chile a naturalized archaeophyte tree called the espino (Acacia caven) can be anthropomorphized as stoic and plebian (Root-Bernstein 2012).

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