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Disasters for wildlife: an analysis of media attention

Lunney, D. and Moon, C. (2012) Disasters for wildlife: an analysis of media attention. Australian Zoologist, 36 (1). pp. 5-19.

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When disasters occur, media reporting tends to focus on the impacts on humans and their property, with only occasional references made to impacts on natural assets such as wildlife.We looked at a range of print and internet media sources to examine the way the media treat wildlife in their reporting of disasters. We found a growing media interest in wildlife problems from earlier analyses, at least partly generated by growing awareness of the risks to wildlife posed by global warming, a hot media topic. Scientists were rarely directly reported, but when they were the message came through loud and clear, calling for better bases for government actions to conserve wildlife.The media industry is separate to academic science and the policy and management world of governments, but has a responsibility to carry important information from these bodies to the wider community. For their part, wildlife scientists should make more effort to set priorities and to inform reporting, recognising that the media influence the political agenda. If global warming is making Australia more disaster-prone (New York. Times 30 September 2009), the consequences for wildlife need to be understood and widely communicated, as a precondition for protective actions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
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