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Education Is Entertainment? Zoo Science Communication on YouTube

Science Communication Unit, Department of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, Psychology, Washington Singer, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QG, UK
WWT, Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Slimbridge GL2 7BT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Katherine Whitehouse-Tedd
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2021, 2(2), 250-264;
Received: 29 March 2021 / Revised: 23 April 2021 / Accepted: 4 May 2021 / Published: 11 May 2021
YouTube is the dominant online video-sharing platform and offers zoos an opportunity to engage a vast audience with conservation content. As there is limited research evaluating how zoos currently utilize YouTube, we cataloged and evaluated the content of 20 zoological organizations (focusing on the top 1000 most viewed videos from each channel) from 2006 to 2019. Separately, educational content in a subsample of the most viewed and recently produced videos from three zoo-YouTube channels was catalogued and evaluated for the period 2016 to 2019. We found that channels are becoming more focused on producing entertainment, rather than education-based content and not reflecting the taxonomic diversity of their animals. Videos containing conservation content may not be the most popular with the YouTube audience (making up only 3% of the most viewed videos), but there is evidence that outputs are becoming more conservation orientated, with more conservation-focused videos being produced over time. Zoos may be engaging with large audiences via YouTube, but should carefully consider how they represent different taxonomic classes and how they can create educational material in interesting and accessible forms.
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Keywords: zoo; YouTube; education; conservation; social media zoo; YouTube; education; conservation; social media
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MDPI and ACS Style

Llewellyn, T.; Rose, P.E. Education Is Entertainment? Zoo Science Communication on YouTube. J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2021, 2, 250-264.

AMA Style

Llewellyn T, Rose PE. Education Is Entertainment? Zoo Science Communication on YouTube. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens. 2021; 2(2):250-264.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Llewellyn, Thomas; Rose, Paul E. 2021. "Education Is Entertainment? Zoo Science Communication on YouTube" J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2, no. 2: 250-264.

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