Public attention towards declining global amphibian species
Amphibians are experiencing the fastest and most widespread population declines of any vertebrate group. The evaluation of amphibian conservation efforts is essential to understand the efficacy of current methods and promote an efficient use of resources. The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is the foremost source of information on the global conservation status of individual species. Here, we examine public awareness of amphibian species as it relates to the extinction risk assigned by the IUCN Red List. To quantify public interest, we used Google Trends to attain internet search patterns of 7297 amphibian species. We found that there was no relationship between IUCN Red List status and the trend of Google searches for species’ common names, and a negative relationship for scientific names. Remarkably, most amphibian species (89% of common names and 91% of scientific names) were Googled zero times and this percentage increased to 98% for species that were classified as data deficient by the IUCN. However, we find that updating a species’ IUCN Red List status produces immediate spikes in Google searches following the reassessment, leading us to believe that frequent assessment and subsequent advertisement of category changes are important for increasing public awareness. These results highlight the need to increase public awareness of amphibians and their widespread declines at the local, national, and global level.