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Title: Effect of experiences with captive and non-captive African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) on conservation attitudes, learning, and behavior of visitors
Authors: Kasdin, Alexandra E.
Advisors: Pringle, Robert
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: It is important to understand how and why people adopt environmentally friendly behaviors. Environmental education promotes positive attitudes towards the environment, increased awareness of environmental issues, and, in turn, more environmentally friendly behaviors. Wildlife viewing experiences represent one means of environmental education. This study performs a direct comparison between visitors viewing animals in their natural habitat and visitors viewing animals in captivity to determine whether one method of viewing wildlife has more educational potential. I used exit surveys to assess the learning, attitude change, and behaviors of visitors at two African penguin viewing sites (one exhibited captive penguins, the other wild). I also conducted surveys at a control site that did not exhibit any animals. An all-subset modeling and model averaging approach showed that visitors’ attitudes towards conservation became significantly more positive at the two wildlife sites than at the control site. However, attitude change was not significantly different at the captive and wild animal sites. Also, neither wildlife site indicated a significantly greater potential for inspiring pro-conservation behavior changes than the control site. This demonstrates that animal experiences can effectively instill positive attitudes towards the environment, regardless of the context, but this does not necessarily result in environmentally friendly behavior.
Extent: 89 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2017

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