Multi-species, multi-country analysis reveals North Americans are willing to pay for transborder migratory species conservation.
Migratory species often provide ecosystem service benefits to people in one country while receiving habitat support in other countries. The multinational cooperation that could help ensure continued provisioning of these benefits by migration may be informed by understanding the economic values people in different countries place on the benefits they derive from migratory wildlife. We conducted contingent valuation surveys to estimate the willingness of 3733 respondents from Canada, the United States and México to invest in conservation for two disparate migratory species, the northern pintail duck Anas acuta and the Mexican free-tailed bat Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana. With zero-inflated mixed-effects negative binomial regression (explaining 87% of the variation in willingness to pay for conservation), we found that respondents from each nation, after controlling for both household income and per capita national Gross Domestic Product, were willing to invest in conservation in other countries. This willingness to pay for conservation, even when respondents knew that funds would be used to support benefits accruing primarily in other countries, demonstrates the potential for support of multinational conservation policies and programmes that direct resources to locations where the most critical habitat is located, rather than where the funding is generated. These findings could be used to support the development or expansion of new and existing international conservation programmes for migratory species.