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Taking kids to zoo boosts their science and environment knowledge

May 28, 2011 - Washington

A new study from University of Warwick has suggested that visiting a zoo enables children to boost their knowledge about science and conservation to a greater degree than classroom teaching can ever do alone.

In the research conducted at ZSL London Zoo, more than 3,000 school children aged between seven and 14 were asked about their knowledge of animals, habitat and conservation and then tested again after their trip.

The results show that 53% had a positive change in educational or conservation-related knowledge areas, personal concern for endangered species or new empowerment to participate in conservation efforts. The results proved that their trip around the zoo provided a statistically significant increase in scientific learning about animals and habitats.

"Globally, more than a tenth of the world's population passes through zoos annually so the potential is there to reach a huge audience," said Eric Jensen, the producer of the report and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick.

"In recent years zoos have come under criticism for failing to demonstrate educational impact with certain lobbying groups arguing that it's cruel to keep animals captive. But zoos have been changing for years now to offer more educational and conservation information," he added.


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