February 9, 2012 Press Release
Distributed by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA)
Making More Than Just A Memory
National Poll Finds Accredited Marine Parks, Aquariums and Zoos Best Places for Children to Learn About, Connect with Marine Mammals
Children have a natural curiosity about dolphins, whales and other marine mammals. The best way for parents to encourage this interest – and to inspire a lifelong passion for wildlife conservation – is to log kids off the computer and visit an accredited marine park, aquarium or zoo, where learning happens best.
That’s according to a new national public opinion poll that says the public strongly believes seeing and experiencing live animals is the best way for children to learn about marine mammals. Released on February 9, 2012 by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the survey of more than 1,000 adults found that 97 percent of people agree that marine life parks, aquariums and zoos are important because they educate children about marine mammals – animals that children might not have the opportunity to see in the wild.
94 percent of those polled agree that children are more likely to be concerned about animals if they learn about them at marine life parks, aquariums and zoos, and that visiting these facilities can inspire conservation action that can help marine mammals and their ocean environments.
The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive®, also found that 94 percent of people agree that zoological parks and aquariums offer valuable information about the importance of oceans, bodies of water and the animals that live there.
“Children, especially, care more about what they know and understand, and these parks provide important interactions that are a critical first step in promoting kids to take action to help animals and their habitats,” said Marilee Menard, executive director of the Alliance.
Additionally, the poll found that 89 percent agree that children learn more about marine mammals at an aquarium or zoo than in a school classroom, and 88 percent agree that you can learn about animals at marine parks in a way that can’t be replicated by watching
film or TV programs. Some 91 percent agree that seeing a marine mammal at these facilities fosters a connection to the animal.
“When children – and adults – see and experience the excitement of being close to marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and sea lions, it resonates in ways that even the most vividly illustrated book or video cannot. It is an emotionally enriching experience that fosters a sense of caring for these animals and their ocean environments,” said Menard, whose Alliance membership represents 48 accredited facilities that account for the greatest body of experience and knowledge about marine mammal care and husbandry in the world.
Other findings from the new public attitude survey include:
“We pride ourselves on providing an educational and enjoyable experience for families,” Menard said. “Professionals at Alliance member institutions work every day to inspire guests of all ages to share their commitment to marine mammals, the need to protect them in the wild and to conserve ocean habitats.”
Harris Interactive® conducted the study online on behalf of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums between Aug. 29 and Sept. 6, 2011 among a nationally representative quantitative survey of 1,011 U.S. adults ages 18 and over. The data were weighted where necessary to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. The propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums is an international association of marine life parks, aquariums, zoos, research facilities, and professional organizations dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study, and wildlife presentations.