Kids on Andros Island seem to think so. Researchers from North Carolina State University authored this study, comparing kids’ preferences for animals in The Bahamas and North Carolina. The base question posed was: ““What are your five favorite kinds of wild animals that live in in The Bahamas?”. The most common answer for kids on Andros was…..dogs. Here is the paper, an easy read that puts these findings in the context of developing effective conservation strategies through educational efforts. The full summary follows:
Efforts to prioritize wildlife for conservation benefit from an understanding of public preferences for particular species, yet no studies have integrated species preferences with key attributes of the conservation landscape such as whether species occur on islands (where invasive exotics are the primary extinction threat) or continents (where land use change is the primary extinction threat). In this paper, we compare wildlife species preferences among children from a continental location (North Carolina, USA, n = 433) and an island location (Andros Island, The Bahamas, n = 197). Children on the island preferred feral domesticated species and different types of taxa than mainland children, perhaps due to the strongly divergent species richness between the regions (e.g. island children showed greater preferences for invertebrates, lizards and aquatic species). Boys preferred fish, birds and lizards more than girls, whereas girls preferred mammals. The fact that island children showed strong preferences for invasive species suggests challenges for conservation efforts on islands, where controlling invasive exotic species is often of paramount importance, but can conflict with cultural preferences for these same species.