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10+ Articles on Social Media’s Role in Wildlife & Conservation


Social media and all its various forms have done wonders to connect people around the world and expand dialogue on just about any topic you can think of—including conservation and wildlife issues. Social media provides insights about what’s happening globally with natural spaces, how people engage and value nature, and challenges across these landscapes (literally and figuratively).

These peer-reviewed articles—with their associated publication in parentheses and a snippet from their text—provide a snapshot of social media’s role in conservation and wildlife conversations from around the globe. Like what you see? Upvote an article to give it your kudos.

(All photos available for use via Creative Commons via Flickr)

#1 The Links Between New Media and Nature Conservation

Nature 2.0: Exploring and Theorizing the Links Between New Media and Nature Conservation (New Media & Society)

Learn how “social media applications that allow people to share, co-create and rate online content are crucial new ways for conservation organizations to reach audiences and for concerned individuals and organizations to be (seen as) ‘green’” and how “online activities stimulate and complicate the commodification of biodiversity and help to reimagine ideas, ideals and experiences of nature.”

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#2 Natural Resource Conservation in the Era of Social Media

Changing the Engines of Change: Natural Resource Conservation in the Era of Social Media (Journal of Soil and Water Conservation)

Explore the findings from one author who “examines the role communication has played in facilitating change in agricultural conservation in the past and suggests how new social media technologies could be used to advance conservation in the future.”

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#3 Wild Animal Welfare in the Media

Some Animals Are More Equal than Others: Wild Animal Welfare in the Media (Bioscience)

Learn about research that reveals how “media tended more frequently to report welfare issues that involved intent to harm an animal, were illegal, or occurred in the terrestrial environment. Insofar as media reporting may lead to improvements in the welfare of wild animals, greater effort may be required to provoke media interest in welfare issues that do not involve intent to harm, are legal, or occur in marine environments.”

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#4 Environmental Sustainability Awareness in Higher Education

Social Media for Environmental Sustainability Awareness in Higher Education (International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education)

Check out this study that explores “the role of social media to garner interest of students and staff on environmental sustainability issues” considering “the explosion of social media use such as Facebook among higher education students [that] is deemed to have great potential in widely disseminating environmental sustainability awareness.”

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#5 Social Media for Biodiversity Mapping and Conservation

Potential of Social Network and Internet Media for Biodiversity Mapping and Conservation (Current Science)

Understand how “several studies have demonstrated the power of social network sites in generating public interest in citizen science project and in mapping, inventorying and monitoring biodiversity and in conservation education” and “how social network and Internet media can effectively be used in biodiversity mapping and conservation.”

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#6 Visibility of Threatened Species on Twitter

Tweeting for Their Lives: Visibility of Threatened Species on Twitter (Journal for Nature Conservation)

Learn about “five traits shared by popular threatened species on Twitter and [how] understanding these commonalities can inform conservation education and marketing campaigns aiming to raise the profile of less popular threatened species” in this study that “assesses the attention directed towards Australian threatened species on the online social network Twitter, an increasingly common way for scientists and the general public to communicate about conservation.”

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#7 Twitter as a Tool for Conservation Education and Outreach

Twitter as a Tool for Conservation Education and Outreach: What Scientific Conferences Can Do to Promote Live-Tweeting (Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences)

Gain insights about how “Twitter and other social media technology can be a powerful tool for conservation education and outreach from scientific conferences” with a case study from the 2011 International Congress for Conservation Biology.

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#8 Saving Vietnam’s Wildlife Through Social Media

Saving Vietnam's Wildlife Through Social Media (Science)

Discover how “social media offer a major tactical opportunity to hold public officials and citizens accountable, by galvanizing public opinion, applying public pressure, and therefore incentivizing improved conservation behavior” with an example from Vietnam that “demonstrates the potential power of social media to influence an immediate government response to a conservation crisis.”

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#9 Social Media Data in Conservation Science

Prospects and Challenges for Social Media Data in Conservation Science (Frontiers in Environmental Science)

Examine a “framework on how social media data could be useful for conservation science and practice” with “commonly used social media platforms” and a discussion of “how their content could be providing new data and information for conservation science.”

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#10 Social Media in the Service of Conservation

Social Media in the Service of Conservation: A Case Study of Dolphins in the Hellenic Seas (Aquatic Mammals)

Dive into this study about the distribution of whales, dolphins, and porpoises through use of “online shared videos from people (e.g., maritime tourists and sea professionals) navigating through Greek waters” and how this lends “to a better understanding of their basic ecology and for developing appropriate management and conservation strategies.”

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#11 Enhancing Global Conservation Using Night Lights & Social Media

Where Have All the People Gone? Enhancing Global Conservation Using Night Lights and Social Media (Ecological Applications)

Explore this study that “demonstrates the benefits of combining remote sensing sources and novel geo‐tagged and crowd‐sourced information from social media in future efforts to identify spatial conservation gaps and pressures in real time, and their spatial and temporal variation globally.”

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#12 Using Twitter to Communicate Science from a Conference

Using Twitter to Communicate Conservation Science from a Professional Conference (Conservation Biology)

Check out recommendations from one study that investigated the use of Twitter to communicate conservation science at professional conferences, including one suggestion to “provide Twitter‐friendly summaries that incorporate relevant hashtags and usernames.”

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#13 Social Media to Strengthen Awareness of Wildlife Conservation

Using Social Media to Strengthen Public Awareness of Wildlife Conservation (Ocean and Costal Management)

Discover how one study on the use of social media and public awareness revealed that “that greater attention is needed for depicting and delivering conservation knowledge (e.g., rescue methods, biological features), negative impact on wildlife by diverse human behavior, and detailed proper descriptions to promote public awareness on wildlife conservation using multi-faceted thinking so as to reduce public misunderstanding of policymakers and experts.”

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