Attractions Management 2 August 2021

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ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL Spectacular animals and a variety of species boost zoo visitor numbers, but there are other more unusual ways to drive footfall, finds this study by Trinity College Dublin’s Yvonne Buckley


hat drives zoo attendance? How does variety in animal collections affect footfall? How do high zoo visitor

numbers boost conservation activity in the wild? Scientists from Trinity College Dublin teamed up last year with Species360 and NUI Galway to carry out a study to answer these questions and found that a range of strategies can be used to boost zoo attendances. Led by Yvonne Buckley, professor of zoology at Trinity College Dublin, the research analysed data from zoos in 58 countries – headline findings include the fact that zoos with large animals such as elephants, tigers and pandas attract higher numbers of visitors and also that unusual species and zoos that are very

Photo: Vivien Buckley

different from others are also more attractive. Buckley set out to identify ways for zoos to attract more visitors and enhance conservation

We spoke to Yvonne Buckley about what the findings mean for operators looking to drive up their visitor numbers, and how she hopes to see operators displaying smaller and more unusual species that can sometimes be overlooked.

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