In Situ Conservation Through the Eyes of the Zoo Visitor: Examining Visitor Awareness and Support of the North Carolina Zoological Park's Participation in In Situ Conservation Projects

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Title: In Situ Conservation Through the Eyes of the Zoo Visitor: Examining Visitor Awareness and Support of the North Carolina Zoological Park's Participation in In Situ Conservation Projects
Author: Cerbin, Adriana Cerbin Linda
Advisors: Toddi A. Steelman, Committee Co-Chair
Michael Stoskopf, Committee Co-Chair
Larry D. Gustke, Committee Member
Abstract: Zoo officials have for many years participated in ex situ conservation activities. Recently however, a growing number of zoos have shown an interest in becoming involved with in situ conservation projects. One such zoo is the North Carolina Zoological Park (NCZP) in Asheboro, NC. NCZP officials have committed to several of these projects and are aware of their importance. However, little is known about how visitors regard these activities. The two research questions asked were: 1) Are visitors aware of the NCZP’s involvement in in situ conservation efforts? and 2) Do patrons’ of the NCZP support those efforts? Three hypotheses were identified. These included: H1: visitors with an increased awareness of the zoo’s involvement in in situ conservation would provide a greater amount of support for these projects, H2: membership status would not affect a visitor’s level of declared support for in situ conservation, and H3: membership status would affect a visitor’s level of monetary support for in situ conservation. A survey instrument was developed using a cross-sectional design. The survey focused on four key elements including contributions (monetary support), declared support for local and international projects, understanding of in situ conservation, and visitor relationships with the zoo. The survey was conducted on-site at the NCZP in June and July 2007. Tests of statistical significance and measures of association indicated that awareness played a statistically significant role in how much declared support a visitor had for a project, but had little to no role in how much money visitors contributed on an annual basis. Findings also indicated that membership status was not related to declared support and therefore this relationship was not statistically significant. Finally findings indicated that the relationship between membership status and annual monetary contributions was statistically significant. Recommendations for the NCZP were made based on the study’s findings.
Date: 2009-04-23
Degree: MS
Discipline: Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2236


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