This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Who Gives a Whoop? An Analysis of Conservation Messages on Twitter




Franklin, Taylor

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Forestry and Wildlife Science


Whooping Cranes’ (Grus americana) historic range ran from the Arctic Coast to Central Mexico and throughout much of the mid-west to the eastern shores of the United States. By the winter of 1941, approximately 16 Whooping Cranes remained. Historic population declines resulted from habitat destruction, shootings, and displacement by human activities. Through enhanced protection and management, the Whooping Crane population has grown, but still faces many challenges. Developed by a Canada-United States Recovery team, the stated goal of the Recovery Plan for the Whooping Crane is to be able to delist the Whooping Crane as an endangered species after the establishment of multiple self-sustaining Whooping Crane populations in North America. The Recovery Plan identifies five actions that must be taken to establish delisting criteria, one of which is to establish and maintain an outreach program. Little research examines the scope and effectiveness of social media for conservation outreach. This thesis is an examination of conversations on Twitter regarding Whooping Cranes. The thesis provides insight into the sources of messages, what the content of those messages are, and which messages seem to have the most impact. This understanding provides a first step toward developing a comprehensive social media outreach strategy.