This paper which came out of a frustration in front of the increasingly degraded state of the planet and which broke standards of scientific communication attracted more attention than expected. We wrote a follow-up paper explaining the role satire in 21st century conservation, also published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The Atlantic magazine later published an online piece about our papers and discussed the role of satire, explaining that studies have shown that when it comes to relaying scientific messages, satire can be more effective than sincerity.
Our satiric piece has been recommended two times by F1000Prime, which identifies and recommends important articles in biology and medical research publications, with articles being selected by a peer-nominated global 'Faculty' of the world's leading scientists and clinicians who then rate them and explain their importance. See (campus access required): Joly E: F1000Prime Recommendation of [Chapron G et al., Trends Ecol Evol (Amst) 201833(9):651-652]. In F1000Prime, 28 Aug 2018; 10.3410/f.732606682.793550055 and Boero F: F1000Prime Recommendation of [Chapron G et al., Trends Ecol Evol (Amst) 201833(9):651-652]. In F1000Prime, 07 Sep 2018; 10.3410/f.732606682.793550227. Our satire was also included in the list of top 20 influential conservation ecology papers of 2018 on ConservationBytes (“Scientists have issued numerous warnings to politicians and to the general population, but to little avail: the consumerism show must go on!”)
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Blood does not buy goodwill: Allowing culling increases poaching of a large carnivore, we evaluated the hypothesis that liberalizing culling will reduce poaching and improve population status of an endangered carnivore. We found that allowing wolf culling was substantially more likely to increase poaching than reduce it. Our results suggested that granting management flexibility for endangered species to address illegal behaviour may instead promote such behaviour. Because I anticipated the findings to be controversial, I took the opportunity to experiment an alternative way of communicating science to the public by producing a gently satiric video with Playmobil figurines. The video consists of 1500 pictures taken in a white tent and assembled together in a 3 min-long movie and took one full week to produce.
Our paper has indeed proven controversial and interested readers should also read the three replies we received by Pepin et al., Olson et al. and Stien, which we rebutted in a first and second reply. It is unclear how this video contributed to public and researcher attention (it was however featured on the BBC and Washington Post) but if it did contribute to generate more coverage, including criticism such as the replies we received, this was worth the effort.