Swimsuits, pants, blouses, bucket hats, sandals, handbags… the leopard print is everywhere. From luxury brands to fast fashion giants, print is playing defectors to establish itself as a fashion icon in the long run. And if its use was copyrighted to fund the protection of this endangered species, a group of British researchers suggests? A not so crazy idea, adopted by The New Yorker†
In 2017, Caroline Good Markides and her team from the Conservation Research Unit in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK, surfaced an original idea in an academic paper. The researcher defends the idea of incorporation “animal rights” when resuming sites belonging to an endangered species.
While the International Union for Conservation of Nature recently classified the leopard as: “vulnerable species”, which corresponds to the first level of endangered species, the New Yorker looked again at this idea of copyright.
“What if a royalty was due to an endangered species every time its image or attributes are taken for commercial purposes?”† the magazine asked.
Indeed, justifies the monthly, “when a song or a creation is used to promote a product or an event, we pay royalties to the creator”.
In concrete terms, this compensation could be used to finance the protection of the species concerned, by hiring more guards to protect natural areas or by conducting awareness-raising campaigns.
The team of researchers behind this proposal also emphasizes that the abundance of leopard patterns in our lives would propagate in our imaginations the idea that the leopard also thrives in the middle of nature and is present in numbers. What is necessary and can cause the public to become desensitized to the cause of this animal, which therefore does not consider it an endangered species.
“For wildlife advocates, the challenge is to find ways to bend the popularity of the leopard pattern, at least in part, in favor of the species from which it was taken”conclude Caroline Good Markides and her team.