To find out which European countries were making the most and least searches on the internet related to wildlife conservation, a new study analysed Google search trends data. To do so, they selected the top 20 populated European countries and analysed key wildlife preservation phrases. In addition, a context translator tool was used to translate the key phrases into each country’s most common language.
Countries with most and least wildlife conservation searches
The study revealed that the United Kingdom is the European country with more searches related to wildlife conservation. The UK makes an average of 290 650 searches relating to wildlife conservation terms each month. In the second and third place, we find Switzerland and France, with 36 880 and 31 810 searches respectively. On the other hand, Belarus and Serbia make the fewest number of searches for wildlife conservation. Both countries rack up just 1 560 searches each month on average. Shortly behind follows Romania, with only 400 more searches on average.
Although this findings are interesting, and can be illustrative of the commitment of the different European countries to wildlife conservation, we suggest that future studies also take into account important context and demographic differences. For instance, countries with least searches may also be the ones with the lowest number of Internet users. Nevertheless, this results generally coincide with other measures of nature conservation. For example, Switzerland, the UK and France are also found in the top countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which analyses the environmental performance.
Finally, the study also analysed the the most searched phrases related to wildlife conservation. This allowed to gain a better understanding of the specific issues citizens are more interested about. In Europe, the phrase “endangered animal” is the most searched every month. In other words, the results suggest that people is most concerned about animals who are in the brink of extinction.
The importance of transnational cooperation
Nature and wildlife do not recognise political boundaries. Thus, differences in conservation efforts between neighbouring countries may lead to inefficient measures and poor results. One clear example is the conservation of large carnivores in Europe. Firstly, differences in the way countries manage shared populations could lead to mutual disturbance of each other’s goals. Secondly, such differences could cause overestimation of the population size (due to double counting individuals that occur on both sides of the border). Finally, the construction of border security fencing may have dramatic impacts on the isolated segments that remain within national borders.
For this reason, ensuring transnational cooperation is one of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of nature management and conservation. Projects like Centralparks and BEECH POWER are examples on how cooperation within various European organisations can improve the management quality and effectiveness.