Stakeholder Perceptions of Potential Flagship Species for the Sacred Groves of the North Western Ghats, India
MacMillan, Douglas C.
- Publisher: Routledge
Flagship species are often key in marketing ecotourism. Such flagships, however,\ud are frequently perceived differently by local communities and tourists, which could\ud undermine the function of flagships in conservation. This article investigated the\ud differences between locals’ and tourists’ perceptions about potential bird and tree\ud flagships in sacred groves in the north Western Ghats, India, by surveying 154 villagers\ud and 148 tourists. Tourists generally appreciated aesthetic value, but villagers\ud had species-specific views that incorporate use, cultural, and aesthetic values of these\ud species. The results imply that the views of tourists potentially complement the existing\ud values of these species for villagers by promoting ecotourism. Our results suggest the\ud importance of considering both tourists’ and locals’ perspectives if conservationists aim\ud to promote ecotourism using flagships, and if they are to harness the support of local\ud communities and strive for both biological and social sustainability.