MONDAY, 15 AUGUST 2011Jean-Marie Ballouard and her colleagues surveyed 251 7-11 year old school children from urban and rural areas of France with internet access in order to assess general knowledge about local and exotic species as well as which species were important to conserve. They then compared these results with the availability of information on certain animals through online search engines.
Although the children were able to identify many threatened species, the total only represented 3% of the actual number of threatened species and was restricted to exotic, usually fluffy, animals well represented online. Their general ability to identify local species was also generally poor, with only 21% of children surveyed able to identify the European blackbird .
Ballouard and her colleagues stress that most biodiverisity is neglected due to a narrow range of messages communicated by the media and that biodiversity needs to be explained ‘outside and away from the screens’.
Written by Nick Crumpton