The relationship between zoo visits and the understanding and support for biodiversity
Moss, A. (2018). The relationship between zoo visits and the understanding and support for biodiversity. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107310
© the Authors, 2018
Zoos and aquariums are some of the most-visited institutions, with around 700 million visits made to them globally each year. They are, in a basic sense, simply repositories of living biodiversity. However, the justifications for the continued existence of zoos have evolved since their inception in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and nearly all now position themselves as organisations focussed on the conservation of the world’s remaining biodiversity. Public education of visitors is seen as, and is claimed to be, a central role in achieving this mission. Until relatively recently though, very little was known about the impacts of zoo-based education on zoo visitors. Here, I present the main findings from two global surveys of more than 10,000 visitors to around 30 zoos and aquariums. Most notably, we found that people tend to end their visit with a significantly greater understanding of what biodiversity is, as well as the ways that they personally can help protect it (1). The links between these two knowledge strands were, however, found to be weaker than predicted, which leads us to question the significance of the role of knowledge in catalysing human behaviour change (2). Aside from demonstrating their own positive educational impact, the wider implication of this research is that zoos and aquariums can also show that they are helping to achieve global biodiversity targets; namely, UN Aichi Biodiversity Target 1. From this, I will argue that the educational role of zoos should be considered as a more influential contributor to biodiversity conservation, and society more generally, than has previously been accepted. References 1. Moss, A., E. Jensen, and M. Gusset, Evaluating the Contribution of Zoos and Aquariums to Aichi Biodiversity Target 1. Conservation Biology, 2015. 29(2): p. 537-544. 2. Moss, A., E. Jensen, and M. Gusset, Probing the Link between Biodiversity-related Knowledge and Self-reported Pro-conservation Behaviour in a Global Survey of Zoo Visitors. Conservation Letters, 2017. 10(1): p. 33-40. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
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- ECCB 2018