Title

Translating zoo visitors' behavioural intentions into conservation actions using evidence-based post-visit experiences

This research project will extend and improve the effectiveness of zoo conservation education initiatives by developing post-visit web-based learning experiences.  It will enable zoos to play a greater role in developing an environmentally literate society, motivate collective action for wildlife conservation and measure achievement of mission objectives.

The first investigator for this research project is Prof Roy Ballantyne. The project is funded by the Australian Research Council (Linkage Project 120100120).

Project aims

  1. Develop a prototype action resource website to support, extend and complement visitors’ on-site conservation learning experiences, and motivate for the adoption of environmentally sustainable behaviours;
  2. Identify the key features of the website and associated procedures that are most effective in maximising visitor uptake of environmentally sustainable behaviour, and so derive principles that can be translated to other free-choice environmental learning situations;
  3. Test the hypothesis that providing zoo visitors with access to a post-visit action resource website can significantly increase the percentage of visitors who translate their behavioural intentions into the adoption of environmentally sustainable behaviour.

Project timeline

January - August 2013 Stage 1 Develop prototype action resource website
September 2013 - February 2014 Stage 2 - Iteration 1 Trial website with visitors to the four participating zoos
March - November 2014 Stage 2 - Iteration 2 Refine website & trial with members of each of the four participating zoos
December 2014 - August 2015 Stage 3 Refine website & test with control groups
September - December 2015 Stage 4 Derive, report and disseminate general principles and major findings

Partner organisations

  • Taronga Zoo
  • Territory Wildlife Park
  • Wellington Zoo
  • Bronx Zoo
  • Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
  • ZooGuide