Zoos and aquaria worldwide attract more than 700 million visits every year. They are therefore well placed to make more people aware of the importance of biodiversity — a prime target of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–20.
We surveyed approximately 6,000 visitors to 30 zoos and aquaria in 19 countries (see go.nature.com/vwf8yf). More respondents showed improved understanding of biodiversity after their visit (75.1% compared with 69.8% before) and more could identify an individual action that would bolster biodiversity after their visit (58.8% compared with 50.5% before).
Regrettably, increased awareness does not necessarily change behaviour. The world's zoo and aquarium communities must also help to drive important behavioural and social changes to assist conservation.
About this article
Cite this article
Moss, A., Jensen, E. & Gusset, M. Zoo visits boost biodiversity literacy. Nature 508, 186 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/508186d