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Moss A.,Chester Zoo | Jensen E.,University of Warwick | Gusset M.,World Association of Zoos and Aquariums WAZA Executive Office
Conservation Biology | Year: 2015

The United Nations Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 is a key initiative within global efforts to halt and eventually reverse the loss of biodiversity. The very first target of this plan states that "by 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably." Zoos and aquariums worldwide, attracting more than 700 million visits every year, could potentially make a positive contribution to this target. However, a global evaluation of the educational impacts of visits to zoos and aquariums is entirely lacking in the existing literature. To address this gap, we conducted a large-scale impact evaluation study. We used a pre- and postvisit repeated-measures survey design to evaluate biodiversity literacy-understanding of biodiversity and knowledge of actions to help protect it-of zoo and aquarium visitors worldwide. Ours was the largest and most international study of zoo and aquarium visitors ever conducted. In total, 5661 visitors to 26 zoos and aquariums from 19 countries around the globe participated in the study. Aggregate biodiversity understanding and knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity both significantly increased over the course of zoo and aquarium visits. There was an increase from previsit (69.8%) to postvisit (75.1%) in respondents demonstrating at least some positive evidence of biodiversity understanding. Similarly, there was an increase from previsit (50.5%) to postvisit (58.8%) in respondents who could identify actions to help protect biodiversity that could be achieved at an individual level. Our results are the most compelling evidence to date that zoo and aquarium visits contribute to increasing the number of people who understand biodiversity and know actions they can take to help protect biodiversity. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.


Gusset M.,World Association of Zoos and Aquariums WAZA Executive Office | Dick G.,World Association of Zoos and Aquariums WAZA Executive Office
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2010

In light of the United Nations declaring 2010 as the 'International Year of Biodiversity', we carried out an audit of in situ conservation projects supported by the world zoo and aquarium community. The results of our questionnaire survey show that the 113 evaluated projects are helping to improve the conservation status of high-profile threatened species and habitats in biodiversity-rich regions of the world. Our results show that thanks to the investment made by zoos and aquariums, particularly financial, these projects reached overall impact scores of a magnitude suggestive of an appreciable contribution to global biodiversity conservation. The present first global appraisal of the contribution of the world zoo and aquarium community to in situ conservation from a supported project's perspective thus suggests that zoos and aquariums are on track for 'Building a Future for Wildlife', as stipulated in the revised World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy of 2005. However, zoos and aquariums could make an even stronger contribution by allocating more resources to in situ conservation, which - as our results show - would significantly increase the projects' conservation impact. Increased pooling of resources among zoological institutions thus appears to be advisable. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Zoological Society of London.


Gusset M.,World Association of Zoos and Aquariums WAZA Executive Office | Dick G.,World Association of Zoos and Aquariums WAZA Executive Office
Zoo Biology | Year: 2011

A survey conducted by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, in collaboration with national and regional zoo and aquarium associations, showed that annually more than 700million people visit zoos and aquariums worldwide and are thus potentially exposed to environmental education. Furthermore, the world zoo and aquarium community reportedly spends about US$350million on wildlife conservation each year. Therefore, the world zoo and aquarium community has the potential to play an important role in both environmental education and wildlife conservation. Systematic reviews are encouraged to provide further evidence for the effectiveness of zoos and aquariums as centers of education and conservation. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | World Association of Zoos and Aquariums WAZA Executive Office
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2011

A survey conducted by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, in collaboration with national and regional zoo and aquarium associations, showed that annually more than 700 million people visit zoos and aquariums worldwide and are thus potentially exposed to environmental education. Furthermore, the world zoo and aquarium community reportedly spends about US$ 350 million on wildlife conservation each year. Therefore, the world zoo and aquarium community has the potential to play an important role in both environmental education and wildlife conservation. Systematic reviews are encouraged to provide further evidence for the effectiveness of zoos and aquariums as centers of education and conservation.

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