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Survey Says Zoo & Aquarium Visitors Poised to Combat Climate Change

The jury is out. Zoos and aquariums are poised to make a big impact on the environmental education front, and particularly with respect to climate change literacy. Information from a new study suggests that zoos cater to a demographic of individuals who care about the planet and their concern is linked to the connection the visitors have for the animal ambassadors in these living institutions.

(National Geographic Photo Archives)

The final report of a survey submitted and analyzed by the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CLiZEN)–a consortium of AZA zoos and aquariums led by the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo–indicates that zoo-goers are ripe for learning about climate change and contributing to climate change mitigation.

“We have long suspected that people who visit zoos and aquariums care more about environmental issues and that their sense of care is tied to the connection they feel to the animals they see in our institutions. These findings give us the opportunity to help visitors understand climate change and to provide educational information about what they can do to make a difference,” said Alejandro Grajal, Ph.D., senior vice president of conservation and education for CZS.

The results of the survey indicate that zoo and aquarium patrons use their visits to these facilities as opportunities to engage in discourse with their companions about peoples’ relationship to nature and consider zoos to be trustworthy resources for learning about climate change mitigation issues.

Eighty-six percent of patrons surveyed conveyed a strong connection to the animals at these facilities.  This strong sentiment was correlated with a concern for global warming. “Personal connections with animals are strongly related to our visitors’ climate change conviction and concern and their desire to do more to help save the environment,” said Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of CZS. “Zoos and aquariums have an opportunity to foster strong connections between visitors and the animals in our care.

The findings will help zoo and aquarium scientists and educators develop climate change literacy programs for the more than 20 million people who visit these natural history institutions annually.

A free e-book entitled Climate Change Education: A Primer for Zoos and Aquariums is available for download for educators, zoo practitioners, and anyone interested in learning more about climate change at www.lulu.com. The e-book will be also available through Barnes & Noble and the Apple iBooks app beginning May 4, 2012.

For more information on CLiZEN and the survey, please read my earlier post.


Comments

  1. Ankit
    oDEwrcRzR
    September 23, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Yes this is possible. Some animlas can get sick from other animlas and if you do not properly clean your hands, clothes, boots etc you could track in bacteria that could harm your other animlas.This seems quite unlikely, but i suppose it is possible.

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