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posted on 2021-02-23, 06:11 authored by Meg ShawMeg Shaw, Emily M. McLeod, William T. Borrie, Kelly K. Miller

This study measured the effects that viewing such encounter images had on public perceptions of both the zoo and the animal they saw. Via online survey, one of sixteen images was randomly presented to two samples: one consisting of social media users and followers of zoos, and a representative sample of the Australian public. Each image featured one of four animals (Eclectus parrot, Kangaroo Island kangaroo, Monteith’s leaf insect, Centralian carpet python) and one of four Human Positions (human and animal touching, human and animal ~30cm apart, human and animal ~1m apart, animal alone).

The survey then asked for respondents' to rate their agreement level to four different statements:

1) The animal is cared for by the zoo

2) The animal is displaying a natural behaviour

3) The animal would make a good pet

4) The animal is endangered in the wild

Level of agreement to these statements was measured through a 7 point Likert-type scale that ranged from 1 = Strongly disagree to 7 = Strongly agree, with the midpoint of 4= Neither agree nor disagree.

Respondents also provided demographic data (gender, age, level of education, residential location, zoo membership status, zoo visitation regularity and conservation organisation membership status).

All data is non-identifiable, and participants provided consent for their responses to be used for research and publication. Human ethics approval was provided by the University ethics team. Additionally, animal welfare was ensured throughout the photography process by zoo staff and following zoo protocol.


Sample Source: 1- Social Media Users, 2- General Australian Population

Image: 1- Parrot and Touch position, 2- Parrot and Human Close, 3- Parrot and Human Far, 4- Parrot Alone, 5- Kangaroo and Touch Position, 6- Kangaroo and Human Close, 7- Kangaroo and Human Far, 8- Kangaroo Alone, 9- Leaf Insect and Touch Position, 10- Leaf Insect and Human Close, 11- Leaf Insect and Human Far, 12- Leaf Insect Alone, 13- Snake and Touch Position, 14- Snake and Human Close, 15- Snake and Human Far, 16- Snake Alone

Treatment: 1- Human Touching Animal, 2- Human and Animal ~30cm apart (Close), 3- Human and Animal ~1m apart (Far), 4- Animal Alone

Animal: 1-Parrot, 2- Kangaroo, 3- Leaf Insect, 4- Snake