Feature Image

Ursus maritimus/Polar bear
Basalt shores of Spitsbergen, Norway
Paul Nicklen/ iLCP

March 3, 2016. Water / Oceans

Marine Flagship Species (1 of 6)

Flagship species are iconic representatives of their ecosystems and charismatic creatures that capture human attention

Cristina G. Mittermeier, Gregory S. Stone, Russell A. Mittermeier, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Claudio Campagna, Kent E. Carpenter, Laurence P. Madin, David Obura, Enric Sala, Sebastian Troëng, Peter A. Seligman & Stefan Gutermuth

Pandas, tigers, and great apes have been the flagship species of tropical forests for fifty years of conservation awareness efforts. In similar fashion, marine flagship species can help leverage social change by communicating the beauty, magnificence, and fragility of our seas.

Marine Mammals

Among the most captivating and charismatic species in the ocean, marine mammals have been used widely and effectively as flagship species in conservation campaigns for decades. Among the best known are:

  • Seals and sea lions: Once seen as endearingly playful circus performers, they are now acknowledged as powerful oceanic predators and deep divers.
  • Whales and dolphins: names such as Flipper, Shamu and Willy need no explanation. Likewise, the highly successful Greenpeace “Save the Whales” 1970s campaign burned both the cetaceans and their real-world plight into the cultural memory of the West.
  • Polar bears: they have became synonymous with climate change.
  • Sea otters: representing one of the greatest success stories in marine conservation.

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series Book Oceans: Heart of Our Blue Planet (2011)



Heart of our Blue Planet

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