18/05/2015
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Quarter of Brits think Dodo still exists

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Is Dodo still wandering the planet somewhere? About 14 per cent of people surveyed by the WWF think so. Photo: Martin (commons.wikimedia.org).
Is Dodo still wandering the planet somewhere? About 14 per cent of people surveyed by the WWF think so. Photo: Martin (commons.wikimedia.org).
One in four Britons surveyed by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) think the Dodo still exists, though almost 60 per cent showed concern about declines in animal populations.

Ahead of its Wear it Wild event on Friday 5 June, conservation charity WWF asked 2,000 adults in Britain about their knowledge of endangered species and found that 26 per cent thought the Dodo was not extinct. 

Despite dying out more than 400 years ago, 14 per cent of the respondents believed the flightless island endemic is currently under threat while a further 12 per cent believed that it was not endangered at all. The population of the long-extinct dinosaur Brachiosaurus was believed to be endangered by another 19 per cent of those surveyed.

Rachel Bloodworth, Head of Public Engagement at WWF-UK, said: “It’s great to see that nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed were concerned about declining wildlife populations and believe they should do more to protect them. It’s also encouraging that nearly two fifths of those polled said they’re interested in environmental issues and would actively like to know more.

“The survey suggests that there is an appetite in Britain to learn more about the state of the planet and its incredible wildlife. Yet the results also show that we need to do more to help people feel empowered to protect our precious species. Our new Wear it Wild fundraising event on Friday 5 June aims to make it as easy as possible for people to do something positive to protect species and their habitats.”

The survey also found that around a fifth believed Crane Fly, often referred to as ‘Daddy Long-Legs’, and Grey Squirrel, a common introduced woodland rodent, to be endangered species. Genuinely Endangered species such as the Asian Elephant, Mountain Gorilla and Giant Panda were described by many in the poll as "not endangered".

More adults in the poll could name Zayn Malik as the band-member to recently leave One Direction, than could name the world’s largest forest, while 61 per cent of people surveyed could identify a Kardashian in comparison to just nine per cent knowing how many Tigers are left in the wild. Despite WWF’s recent Living Planet Report revealing that global wildlife populations have, on average, declined by 52 per cent in the last 40 years, seven in 10 of adults surveyed thought it was less.

Rachel added: “The statistics published in our recent Living Planet Report are shocking. The report was a wake-up call that there’s an urgent need to take action. By challenging the nation to Wear it Wild this June we hope to raise awareness for the state of our planet and its precious species and while inspiring the action needed we can take to protect it. There’s lots of fun ways to get involved. All you have to do is sign up at wwf.org.uk/wild and dress as wild as you dare on Friday 5 June.”

WWF’s Wear it Wild campaign challenges the nation to make a stand for nature by dressing as wild as they dare, whether by sporting animal-print socks at work, leopard leotards on the school run or go all out in a wild onesie: the conservation organisation wants to see your wild side.

As well as raising vital awareness, the money raised through Wear it Wild will help support WWF’s work to tackle growing pressures on our natural world and its precious wildlife. The key findings of the survey are listed below.


BRITONS MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED THE BELOW AS ENDANGERED SPECIES
(as a percentage of the 2,000 adults asked):

Red Admiral 38%
Red Kangaroo 36%
Mute Swan 28%
Weever Fish 28%
Crane Fly 21%
Flamingo 20%
Fresian cow 19%
Grey Squirrel 19%
Highland cattle 17%


BRITONS MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED THE BELOW ENDANGERED SPECIES AS NOT ENDANGERED:

Fin Whale 48%
Green Turtle 42%
Asian Elephant 37%
Bonobo Chimpanzee 35%
Mountain Gorilla 26%
Bornean Orang Utan 25%
Hawksbill Turtle 25%
Snow Leopard 22%
Giant Panda 17%
Bengal Tiger 16%
Black Rhinoceros 12%


THE PERCENTAGE OF BRITONS THAT SAID THE FOLLOWING EXTINCT SPECIES WERE EITHER
NOT ENDANGERED OR ENDANGERED:

Animal Not endangered Endangered
Brachiosaurus 14% 19%
Dodo 12% 14%

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