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Semantic Profiles of Zoos and Their Animals
I administered surveys to 156 university students to explore issues related to animal charisma or show value. Specifically, students ranked species as to their desirability to see on a zoo tour and to work with professionally as a zoo biologist; rated the semantic connotations of these species; rated the semantic connotations of the zoo, wild animal park, and nature reserve; and rated the connotations of two charismatic and two biophobic animal species in three habitats. On a zoo tour, respondents want to see species that are large, attractive, strong, and uncommon, but prefer to work professionally with species that are friendly and safe. Students viewed the zoo as a somewhat active, large place, with overall positive connotations. However, it ranks lower than the wild animal park and the nature reserve on the value dimension. Species are considered less active and less strong when caged than when free in their natural habitat or in an animal sanctuary. The different habitats had less effect in the value dimension. This is true for both charismatic and biophobic species.
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