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A comparison of understanding of the amphibian crisis by zoo visitors across three countries

Dos Santos, Marcileida M., Griffiths, Richard A., Jowett, Tim, Rock, Jennifer, Bishop, Phillip J. (2019) A comparison of understanding of the amphibian crisis by zoo visitors across three countries. Zoo Biology, 38 (6). pp. 471-480. ISSN 0733-3188. (doi:10.1002/zoo.21516) (KAR id:78895)


Despite the global declines in the rate of amphibians, evaluation of public understanding of the crisis has not yet been carried out. We surveyed visitors (n = 1,293) at 15 zoos in Brazil, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, using a certainty‐based assessment method to compare visitor knowledge of the global amphibian crisis. We further analyzed zoo educational material about amphibians to explore its potential to raise awareness through amphibian‐focused environmental education. Visitors in the three countries had relatively little understanding of amphibians and the global amphibian crisis. When the degree of confidence in answering the questions (high, medium, and low) is accounted for, correct answers varied between 28% and 39%. This compared to scores of between 58% and 73% when the degree of confidence in responding was not accounted for. However, specific areas of knowledge (e.g., biology, conservation, biogeography, and conceptual ideas) varied significantly across the countries. Visitors had a weaker grasp of biogeographical and conservation issues than general amphibian biology. Zoo visitors in Brazil knew less about amphibian conservation than those in New Zealand or the United Kingdom. There was less amphibian‐focused content in educational materials in zoos in Brazil than there was in the United Kingdom. Improving information about the global amphibian crisis may increase support for future conservation actions. Outreach education is one of the most important approaches in any strategic planning for conservation of species. Amphibian‐focused environmental education at institutions such as zoos and aquaria can be a crucial intervention to support amphibian conservation worldwide.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/zoo.21516
Uncontrolled keywords: amphibian declines, environmental education, knowledge, public awareness, science communication
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Richard Griffiths
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 09:53 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Griffiths, Richard A..

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