The following link is to an interesting and slightly controversial article on yahoo. To some extent I must agree with the author. Charismatic megafauna such as lions, eagles, and pandas do receive much more attention than less charismatic yet more critically endangered species. On the other hand, these charismatic species are often umbrella species. This means that conservation funding and efforts to protect these species has an umbrella effect by preserving the environment to benefit other species that were not the target. For example, there may be a species of salamander that occupies much of the same habitat as pandas. By protecting and restoring panda habitat we are benefiting the salamander, which on its own would not be a species that could capture the hearts of the public and generate funds to pay for the conservation efforts.

It may be true that we need to adjust how we spend conservation funding. Maybe the charismatic species are getting way to much when there is a less charismatic, but ecologically more important species, that is getting nothing. All that is certain is that conservationists need to reassess how we determine which species are of priority.

Why we don’t need pandas – Yahoo! News.