Awwwwww! Cute video alert!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Rolling pandas! Waddling penguins! Prancing elephants! Who can resist animal videos? They’re fun — and educational! Or are they???  

Enter Thomas Llewellyn, from University of the West of England, and University of Exeter’s Paul Rose! They evaluated the one thousand most viewed videos from TWENTY zoo channels on Youtube! They analyzed the videos to see how much they teach about diverse animals and conservation. 

Answer? Not a lot! Viewers see a LOT of mammals — they’re in almost EIGHTY percent of videos! But reptiles like snakes, lizards and tortoises make up less than THREE percent of animal content. Also, only a small percentage of the videos were about conservation – although the researchers note that number is going up. Most zoos post their cutest mammals to attract audiences.

Llewellyn and Rose believe that zoos should feature a wider variety of animals to create EDUCATIONAL AND FUN videos. 

ZooTuber, post responsibly! We adore love giant pandas, but crocodiles need love too. Careful love.

Reference: Llewellyn, T., & Rose, P. E. (2021). Education Is Entertainment? Zoo Science Communication on YouTube. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens, 2(2), 250–264. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2020017