Living in urban area these days, under the current social and economic situation, the majority of people no longer have a connection with the nature. Children might still be learning some animal science, and they also learn the reason why people need to protect the planet, however, they only learn this knowledge from their teachers, books or on the internet.
They might have seen a dolphin from the web, however, they might have never seen a real fish swimming in the wild. Due to this disconnection with the nature, people, especially children become scared of wild things, from a butterfly to a little insect. The more they dislike and are frightened of living things from the wild, the more they want to stay in front of the screen, sitting in the room and ‘learn’.
This is why I think zoos and aquariums play an important role. They provide a rather safe and comfortable environment for people to get reconnect and get in touch with the nature. The man-made environment cannot compare with the world out there of course, however, visiting zoos and aquariums are like taking baby steps for people who have not been in touch with the wild. Inside, they might encounter all the wonderful animals, and hopefully bonding and connection can be established. It is true that, if the connection only stays inside the zoos, and does not last long, this is not going to be helpful in driving sustainable behaviors. Therefore, it is necessary to extend the curiosity and connection to animals in the wild, and zoos and aquariums should facilitate this process well.