Stereotypes also affect wildlife

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Stereotypes also affect wildlife

When a person decides to work in wildlife conservation, they have to go through several obstacles, such as lack of economic resources, little support for research funds, the complexity of working with species that are very difficult to detect, among many others; But there is a fundamental and little valued difficulty, which corresponds to the lack of “charisma” or the breaking down of barriers imposed by people towards animals, reflected in a negative perception towards some of them.

Day by day those of us who work with wildlife must give explanations about why? working with “dirty”, “ugly”, “unlucky” or “useless” species; all qualifications imposed by history, religion, beliefs, and the passing of information between people.

It is very common to hear erroneous statements, such as that some toads infect you with warts, that the song of a concón brings bad luck, that bats are mice with wings or that rodents are unclean; But where does all this come from? When reviewing literature, it is easy to detect a cultural, historical or religious foundation; It is possible to review scriptures from the bible that mention unkind words towards a group of animals, treating them as dirty, unpleasant or bad omens. People are convinced that mice cause a lot of damage from the history associated with the bubonic plague or alarming media reports about the Hanta virus. How many of us have heard at school age, even from the words of our teachers, that bats are winged mice or that when we touch an amphibian our skin will react by filling with warts. Because of this misinformation, it is necessary to break down these barriers and demystify these assertions.

It is essential to clarify that all living beings and in particular our wild fauna, have an inherent value, which means that they are valuable only for the fact of being a life; Although mentioning it seems obvious, this is not so in practice since many people kill rodents, amphibians or bats just out of fear or because of the beliefs that we already mentioned; without stopping to think if there are threatened species, endemic species or with unique characteristics on the planet.

In addition to the aforementioned, these poorly understood animals provide an ecosystem value as seed dispersers, pollinators, controllers of insect pests or a source of food in trophic chains. What would Chile be like and the millions of dollars that tourism and visits to protected wild areas generate year after year if there were no wild rodents, amphibians or bats? Surely we would not have the possibility to admire and enjoy the forests, the ecosystems would be altered with the presence of pests or lack of food, it would not be possible to photograph charismatic species such as the puma, the pudu or a huemul, since they would not have a suitable habitat or they would have no food available.

Therefore, from CicloFauna we propose to break down prejudices, give rise to a quality environmental education for children and adults. Our fauna has very unique characteristics, we have a high endemism and unique species in the world; That is why we invite you to know, to then value and break the paradigms in favor of the conservation of our fauna and the sustainability of natural resources, we still have time to unite and protect our planet.

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