Conservation education in zoos: a literature review

  • Nina Viktoria Nygren Faculty of Management, University of Tampere
  • Sanna Ojalammi The Nordic Africa Institute / Research Cooperative Tapaus

Abstract

Zoos nowadays often claim that their main objective is nature conservation and that they strive to educate the visitors on this subject. A considerable amount of research has been undertaken on conservation education in zoos. This overview performs a qualitative meta-analysis of the methodology, concepts and results of research articles on zoo visitors, particularly regarding learning, education and conservation. Our main finding is that most of the research uses quantitative methodologies and the qualitative, lived experiences of zoo visits remain under-researched. Based on the articles analyzed, “nature conservation” (the substance of conservation education in zoos) becomes implicitly defined as captive breeding and far-off conservation projects, distancing the visitors and their daily lives from nature and issues of conservation.

Keywords: zoo, Conservation education, Conservation, Literature review