Aspects of zoo experiences that increase feelings of connectedness and conservation caring

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Increasing zoo visitors’ feelings of care and connectedness to animals is a common goal of modern zoos. However, more research is needed in measuring these feelings and identifying which aspects of the zoo experience can enhance these. This study aimed to assess whether animal taxon, behaviour, proximity, activity, and perceived welfare influenced people’s feelings of connectedness and conservation caring for a specific species. An online survey asked participants to recall their last zoo visit and discuss, which animal they felt most connected to, and to provide details of what happened during that experience (e.g. animal proximity, behaviour etc). A visual scale of connectedness was used to assess how connected they felt, and the construct of ‘conservation caring’ was utilised to assess a species-specific connection. The survey was completed by 494 participants who accessed it through social media and survey exchange sites. Respondents were adults who had visited a zoo within the last 5 years. ANOVA analyses showed that activity, proximity and perceived welfare did not significantly affect these feelings, however taxon did. A multiple regression between ‘conservation caring’ and ‘behaviours seen’ highlighted just one of the eight behaviours as a significant predictor. Seeing the animals interact with other animals in the enclosure had a positive influence on ‘conservation caring’ scores. This result brings a new perspective on how zoos may increase their guests’ feelings of conservation caring.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021
EventThe 32nd International Congress of Psychology - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 18 Jul 202123 Jul 2021


ConferenceThe 32nd International Congress of Psychology
Abbreviated titleICP 2020+
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address


  • Conservation
  • Connection
  • Emotions
  • Zoo
  • Aquarium


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