Read More: Phys.Org
After fears the Loch Ness Monster had "disappeared" last winter, a new sighting in May 2017 was celebrated by its enthusiasts. The search for monsters and mythical creatures (or "cryptids") such as Nessie, the Yeti or Bigfoot is known as "cryptozoology". On the face of it, cryptozoology has little in common with mainstream conservation. First, it is widely held to be a "pseudoscience", because it does not follow the scientific methods so central to conservation biology. Many conservation scientists would find the idea of being identified with monsters and monster-hunters embarrassing. Moreover, in the context of the global collapse in biodiversity, conservationists focus their attentions on protecting the countless endangered species that we know about. Why waste time thinking about unknown or hypothesised creatures? Most people are rightly sceptical of sightings of anomalous primates or plesiosaurs in densely populated regions that have been surveyed for hundreds of years. However, while there are strong ecological and evidence-based reasons to doubt the existence of charismatic cryptids such as Nessie and Bigfoot, conservationists should not automatically dismiss enthusiastic searches for "hidden" species. In fact, cryptozoology can contribute to conservation in several ways.