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Why conservationists should heed Pokémon

Summary


Children know more about Pokémon than common wildlife

Balmford and colleagues surveyed 109 United Kingdom (UK) primary schoolchildren (ages 4 to 11) to investigate their knowledge of natural and non-natural objects. Each child was shown a set of 20 flashcards–10 of common British wildlife species (including plants, invertebrates, and mammals) and 10 of Pokémon characters. The authors found that while individual children’s scores varied, children’s overall identification success for common wildlife species rose from 32% at age 4 to 53% at age 8 and then fell slightly, whereas children’s identification success for Pokémon characters rose from 7% at age 4 to 78% at age 8. The authors discuss the possible implications of children’s lack of knowledge of common wildlife types and the importance of reconnecting children with local nature.

Citation

Balmford, A., Clegg, L, Coulson, T., Taylor, J, (2002). Why conservationists should heed Pokémon. Science, 295, 2367.

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