Evaluating the effectiveness of live animal shows at delivering information to zoo audiences

Spooner, S.L. ORCID: 0000-0001-6650-3135, Jensen, E.A., Tracey, L. and Marshall, A.R., 2021. Evaluating the effectiveness of live animal shows at delivering information to zoo audiences. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 11 (1), pp. 1-16. ISSN 2154-8455

[img] Text
1405962_a1746_Spooner.pdf - Post-print
Full-text access embargoed until 1 August 2022.

Download (416kB)

Abstract

Live animal shows, which combine animal facts with trained behaviours, are commonly used to engage zoo visitors globally. However, such shows have been criticised for portraying a potentially unhelpful image of ‘performing animals’ and have raised issues of animal welfare ethics. Little is known about the educational effectiveness of these shows. Furthermore, the impact of ‘tricks’, used as attention-grabbing hooks, has received limited research attention. We evaluated the impact of a sea lion and a mixed species bird show on audience knowledge of animal facts. Over a quarter of zoo visitors attended some form of live animal show, demonstrating quantitatively that they are a major potential source of knowledge transfer. Show audiences were questioned immediately before (n = 299) or after (n = 265) each performance about relevant show content knowledge. Additionally, a general zoo visitor survey (n = 160) investigated post-visit knowledge recall. Audiences demonstrated significantly higher animal knowledge post-show compared to pre-show. Conservation action awareness showed weak positive change post-show. Audience education levels and weather conditions also had a weak positive effect on correct responses. However, animals performing trick-type behaviours were found to cause confusion regarding natural adaptations. We conclude that live animal shows should prioritise natural behaviours with a focus on conservation action.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement
Creators: Spooner, S.L., Jensen, E.A., Tracey, L. and Marshall, A.R.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 1 February 2021
Volume: 11
Number: 1
ISSN: 2154-8455
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1080/21548455.2020.1851424DOI
1405962Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 05 Feb 2021 10:44
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2021 15:17
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42196

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View

Views

Views per month over past year

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year