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Best conservation education displays at zoos ?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 18 Dec 2020.

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Environmental education regarding the conservation of biodiversity for the visiting public is one of the stated objectives and missions of the modern zoo.

    Whether it be global warming, the bushmeat trade, the illegal pet trade, deforestation, hybridization or invasive species zoos have a lot of topics to cover and important messages to convey to visitors.

    There are some brilliant examples out there of campaigns and displays that do their best to raise awareness of these diverse issues affecting both species and ecosystem conservation.

    What are some of the best conservation education displays that you have seen during a visit to a zoo and why?
     
    Last edited: 18 Dec 2020
  2. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    I've seen lots of environmental education signs at zoos, but none stuck out to me as particularly brilliant. Toledo Zoo has a sign near the Polar Bears saying that Santa isn't real, which I think is hilarious, but that doesn't really count.

    The best environmental education display I have seen by far is at a nature center near me, specifically the one at 1000 Islands State Conservancy Area. There are two fish tanks right next to each other. One is a beautiful tank decorated with wood, rocks, and plants. It has several species of native fish and crayfish.

    The other tank is decorated with litter and the shells on invasive invertebrates such as Zebra Mussels and Chinese Mystery Snails. The tanks is home to a few native fish species, though not as many as the other tank, and the most obvious tank inhabitants are all invasive species - Rusty Crayfish, Round Goby, Goldfish. Not only are there signs about invasive species and their effects on the ecosystem, but also different pieces of trash in the tank. Near where the bottle of soap is, there is a sign discussing the dangers of microbeads making their way into rivers. A sign near a deflated balloon discusses why you shouldn't release balloon, ect. Extremely well done and I wish zoos did this sort of thing.
     
  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious, why do you think the first example you gave was impressive in terms of conservation education ?

    Was the signage about the crayfish and native fish species particularly effective ?

    Ah ha! The second example you give is this one isn't it ?

    [​IMG]

    I know a lot of people may find this a bit unnecessary but I personally liked it for its shock value which I believe has its place in trying to get the message across.


    Photo credit to @fkalltheway.
     
  4. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    It isn't tank, but is something very similar (and smaller).

    Did I forget to mention the two tanks are right next to each other? The two tanks mirror each other, it's the shock of being different yet the same that makes the education there so effective.
     
  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I think it is a really interesting design and as tragic as it is it could be said that this is in fact a "naturalistic" exhibit in the sense of the anthropocene.

    Thats quite an interesting observation about the shock of it being same but so different, definitely food for thought.
     
  6. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    When I visited Shepreth Wildlife Park, there were many information sources about conservation charities and projects that visitors could get involved with. These includes organisations conserving animals that Shepreth doesn't keep.

    I think this would be a good idea for other zoos. Too many zoos feel that they have to have certain large ABC animals to interest people in helping to save the species of large ABC animals. They don't
     
  7. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member

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    Many zoos have conservation educational displays, but I am personally impressed by the work Wildlife Conservation Society did and the way they present their mission in Bronx zoo. There are many educational displays around this huge facility, talking about the Rainforests in the Jungle World, Extinct Birds in the World of Birds and saving the Bison from the bring of extinction.

    The one which stands out undoubtedly is the Congo Gorilla Forest concept.
    Set in an outdoor landscape that simulates an African rainforest, the exhibition also includes a substantial building with indoor exhibits that one might associate with science museums: text-and-graphic panels, reading rails, a few video stations, interactives, and conventional and unconventional displays of animals. There is a film that ends with a “dissolve” into a view of live gorillas in a natural habitat. Visitors pay an extra $6 to enter this exhibition, money from which goes for conservation and one can choose, what exactly they can be spend for.

    20200219_115246.jpg



    I would recommend this article, if someone is more interested in the CGF concept:

    Measuring Success in the “Congo Gorilla Forest” Conservation Exhibition
     
    Last edited: 19 Dec 2020
  8. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    I'd say Columbus has some pretty striking educational displays. I'm thinking mainly those in the Asian area, with the tiger statues representing each subspecies, and the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers are all smashed, as well as the extinction train and other graphics.
     
  9. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    More displays should tell people something they can actually do for conservation (actionable). Be it where to donate money, how to choose sustainable products or tend a garden in a responsible way.

    Education is important, but it will be meaningless unless a next step is done, and the actual conservation action is done.

    Zoos in Poland often have CITES displays of tourist souvenirs made from CITES species, for example coral. They educate tourists buying products from endangered species abroad. They came to be mostly because a number of such stuff was confiscated at the airports. They were turned into educative displays, rather than destroyed. It is an example of actionable education.
     
    Last edited: 19 Dec 2020
  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious about these signs, I'll have a look in the gallery.

    From what you mention it seems that Shepreth Wildlife Park are quite like Shaldon zoo in that sense who really contribute a great deal to in-situ conservation despite not having any large ABC's.

    I totally agree with you regarding that @Dassie rat , the ABC's are mostly unnecessary.
     
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  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the comment @twilighter !

    I've heard quite a lot about this exhibit and its conservation output but have never really investigated it further but I will have a closer look at it now.

    The picture you include of the exhibit does indeed look more like a natural history museum type display then one that you would typically associate with a zoo and looks quite impressive.

    How do they cover the issue of the bushmeat trade?

    I'll definitely check out the link you've provided , thanks for that !
     
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  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your comment @amur leopard !

    Are there any shots of this in the gallery ?

    I've tried looking for them but haven't found any so far.
     
  13. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I do agree that there needs to be a greater emphasis on action and putting knowledge into action rather than the more passive form of education but its a tricky one for sure.

    That is an interesting example and I would imagine it is effective in encouraging a greater environmental awareness of Polish tourists when abroad in countries such as Indonesia etc.

    I've been mostly impressed by what I've seen in the gallery of what Polish zoos have offered in terms of the EAZA Silent forest campaign.
     
  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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  16. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I really like the idea / concept of windows into labs in zoos so that visitors can see some of the ex-situ research work going on "behind the scenes".

    That said, I do empathise with the staff who have to work under the conditions of being in a "goldfish bowl" (It would drive me mad).

    Jellyfish "lab", Cabrillo aquarium, USA.
    [​IMG]
    Partula snail "lab", Woodland park zoo, USA.
    [​IMG]
    Butterfly lab, Australian butterfly sanctuary, Australia.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    DNA lab, Natural History Museum London, UK.
    [​IMG]
    Various lab windows, ZSL London, UK.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Freshwater fish conservation lab in aquarium, ZSL Whipsnade, UK.
    [​IMG]

    @Blackduiker, @snowleopard, @LaughingDove, @ThylacineAlive, @antonmuster, @gentle lemur.
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2020
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  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    A great example of a window into an ex-situ lab at the Manchester Museum with their excellent work with captive breeding of amphibians and research into chytridiomycosis.
    [​IMG]
    Conservation display on deforestation at the Manchester Museum with the creative use of an old and empty terrarium.
    [​IMG]
    Extinct golden toad signage.
    [​IMG]

    Photo credit to @Macaw16, @devilfish and @ThylacineAlive.
     
    Last edited: 21 Dec 2020
  18. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Conservation quotes in zoos.

    Excellent Mark Cawardine / Douglas Adams quote from the classic "Last Chance to See":
    [​IMG]
    John Muir quote at Fort Worth zoo:
    [​IMG]

    Photo credits to @geomorph and @MagpieGoose.
     
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  19. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member

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    Dyreparken in Kristiansand has a small house dedicated to the Endangered species with only two animals inside, where the Park shows its success with the breeding of Norway's rarest animal the Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae). Behind the Frog's exhibit you can take a look on the breeding terrariums. There is an "ambassador" Red Panda indoor exhibit too, which probably attracts most of the visitors, but once enter the house they can learn a lot from the educational displays inside the house.
    There is a funny lid with the sign "The most dangerous animal". When one open it, he can see himself in the mirror.

    20200914_102107.jpg 20200914_102147.jpg 20200914_102253.jpg
     
    Last edited: 21 Dec 2020
  20. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    One display that stuck to my mind is one in Rotterdam Zoo in a display about marine pollution. At first glance, you'll see two identical tanks with moon jellyfish. But when you come closer, one tank is actually filled with jellyfish and the other with plastic bags. You can see with your very eyes how similar a drifting plastic bag is to a jellyfish, and why turtles mistake the former for the latter.

    In one glance a visitor can see the problem, without any signage or explanation required. And limiting the use of plastic bags is something most people can actually do in their daily lives.