Worrying only about the threat of extinction to “charismatic” species of animals is a mistake, Sir David Attenborough has warned, as he claims the world would not change “hugely” if there were no more giant pandas.
Sir David, the naturalist and broadcaster, said focusing only on appealing species was a “mistake”, with damage to the ecosystem around them having a greater effect on the Earth.
Claiming the world “wouldn’t change hugely” if the giant panda became extinct, he argued that the more significant disappearance of their bamboo forests would “disrupt the whole natural pattern of things”.
Sir David, who has spent decades raising awareness of the plight of animals, conceded the approach of focusing on attractive species “made sense”, with a “useful” aim of getting the public interested in environmental matters.
When asked whether extinction really mattered, and whether the disappearance of the Siberian tiger would make a difference to the planet, he told Radio Times magazine: “It’s a mistake that conservationists have made [to focus on species such as this]. But it’s a useful mistake. It made sense to concentrate on the disappearance of species that we care about, the charismatic species, in order to make people aware of what mankind is doing”.
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