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Biodiversity conservation in zoo and aquarium exhibitions: from information to engagement

Grant number: 16/05836-8
Support type:BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2016 - April 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Specific topics in Education
Principal researcher:Alessandra Fernandes Bizerra
Grantee:Alessandra Fernandes Bizerra
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Brady Wagoner ; Celi Rodrigues Chaves Dominguez ; Eric Jensen ; Viviane Aparecida Rachid Garcia


Biological Conservation is a recurrent theme in the various social spaces. In the political, academic and educational spheres, many are the actions aimed at optimum conditions in the natural environment. However, human action that detrimentally affects the current environmental crisis is also extensive, thereby generating tension and conflicts that pervade the daily lives of citizens. Non-formal education spaces are considered to be places where tension in conservationist speech can be thoroughly investigated. Also cited by Brazilians, through being two of the most visited places of scientific and cultural activities, zoos and aquariums are assumed to be key institutions for biological conservation. In this scenario, and considering their large public and potential importance in the conservation of biodiversity, it becomes important to question the role of zoos in resolving certain contradictions. From the theoretical framework of Activity Theory, we sought to understand how meanings and practices regarding the conservation of biodiversity are developed, both by professionals in zoological institutions, as well as their public, in the process highlighting negotiations established during discussion. Expectations were to list elements, assumptions and characteristics in these exhibits that could optimize public understanding of the science on biological conservation, as well as possible engagements. This can be considered an innovation in this form of research, when developing methodological tools for facilitating analysis of both exposed speeches and public comments. A further intention was to organize activities that would help in strengthening the mission of zoos and aquariums as institutions dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity. (AU)

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