Image by Digital Story via FlickrA flagship species is a term used by conservationist in the industry of tourism to bring awareness to an eco-system as a whole of the importance of protecting it. It is an interesting concept. The conservationist pair up with the tourism of an area, pick a popular endangered species, and then promote that species. The idea is to help the species but the real goal behind it is to protect the larger picture which would be the whole eco-system in which the specie lives which would involve many more plants and animals.
The term flagship species is given to animals that "Tourist" find interesting. In most cases "cute" or just large and impressive. Some of the flagship species you might be familiar with around the world are the Koala Bear, Bengal Tiger, and the Panda. We have all heard of these species and the importance of protecting them and that they might be endangered. I think its a great idea to take from the eco-system it's most prized (in the eyes of a tourist) most endangered species and promote it to raise awareness for the problem.
Costa Rica's Flagship Species
Costa Rica has it's own flagship species which is the Bairds Tapir. This is a beautiful animal that has been called the Rhino of Central America. There have been great efforts made to protect this species and along with protected it has come many many acres of protected land in Costa Rica. The Hacienda Baru and the Rafiki Lodge are two areas that have used the Tapir as a Flagship species and have made a difference in not only protecting the Tapir but also protecting the eco-system in which it lives.
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