Connecting to zoos and aquariums during a COVID-19 lockdown

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Abstract

One of the main goals of zoos and aquariums (hereafter ‘zoos’) is to connect visitors with animals. Unfortunately, COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in these organizations closing around the globe, making this goal exceedingly difficult. During lockdowns, zoos became very resourceful and found alternative means to connect people with animals. Additional social media, webcams, and education resources were offered. What is unknown, however, is the extent to which people used these resources and what factors influenced this. This study, therefore, aimed to explore these questions through an online survey. Of the 302 participants who chose to stay connected to a zoo, the majority (82%) did so via social media, and just over half of the sample used webcams (51%). When asked why they stayed connected, 75% indicated that they did so for their own interest in animals, but some (36%) said they enjoyed sharing the animal information with family/friends. Zoo members were more likely to use education resources, and people with zoo work experience were more likely to share animal information. This study illustrates that zoo resources were utilized during lockdown and that demographic variables were associated with how and why people used them. The findings have implications for zoos post-COVID-19 and may be useful for promoting connections and well-being in certain cohorts of society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-489
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2023

Keywords

  • General Medicine

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