Flagship Species



Flagship Species

Environmental organizations work to protect plants and animals whose natural habitats are threatened by human activity. One way they do this is by selecting a particular species to represent the threatened habitat to the general public. This species, called a flagship species, is one that people are likely to find attractive and interesting. The flagship species is used to raise public awareness and motivate people to take action to protect the threatened habitat. People's support of the flagship species results in protection for all the plant and animal species living in the threatened area.

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    <-NARRATOR:->Now listen to part of a lecture on this topic
    in an environmental science class.
    <-MALE PROFESSOR:-> So one example of this
    is the macaw . . .
    the great green macaw.
    Now the great green macaw
    is a beautiful bird,
    a fairly large-sized parrot known for its colorful feathers-
    gorgeous green feathers, with some red and blue feathers too.
    The macaw lives in the South American rainforest,
    in a part of the rainforest where a lot of trees had been cut down-
    trees that the macaw relies on for its food and nesting.
    So... the macaw was in trouble.
    And, of course, along with the trees,
    a lot of other animals were in trouble too-
    lots of birds, bats, and frogs also lived in these trees.
    So when the trees were cut down and cleared away,
    these animals also didn't have a place to live anymore,
    and their populations
    drastically declined.
    So what a concerned group of people in the area did
    was they started spreading the word about how the macaw-
    you know, this really beautiful bird-
    needed help. They made little books with information about the macaw,
    with pictures, full-colored pictures of the macaw that showed off its beautiful feathers.
    And they passed out these little books, these informational brochures...
    they distributed them to people in schools and community centers in the area.
    And a lot of people responded.
    They contributed money and helped the group set up some protected land-
    a special area where no one could cut down the trees,
    so the macaw would be safe.
    And the macaw's population started to increase,
    and other birds and bats and frogs
    came back to the area too...
    their numbers increased...
    along with the trees.


Using the example of the macaw from the lecture, explain the concept of a flagship species.


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