• Open Access

Evaluating Conservation Flagships and Flagship Fleets


  • Editor Javier Simonetti


Flagship species are widely used in conservation but this single species approach has attracted criticism. One response is the “flagship fleet,” which uses several flagship species in one conservation marketing campaign. However, marketing theory suggests multibrand campaigns can be counter-productive. Here, we develop an evaluation strategy for conservation flagships, and use it to: measure the effectiveness of an existing bird flagship species; detect whether additional species are needed; and, if appropriate, identify which species should be added to create a flagship fleet. We show the bird species has high levels of visibility and recognition, but has traits that appeal to only half the target audience. We also show that this shortcoming could be overcome by forming a flagship fleet based on adding an endemic mammal or fish species but there are additional strategic considerations that must be taken into account, namely in terms of costs and potential future conflicts.