It has been generally shown by observations on children that they have an innate desire to know about animals.
This is observed in children from all ages and different socio-ecological situation.This study addresses how learning behaviour in different communities is triggered by the children’s own environment and how this is linked to facilitating their interest in conservation of nature and natural resources.
MethodsThe study was designed to use locale specific interaction with children of the ages 4 to 15 years in different socio-ecological settings (Tadoba and Pench; Bhigwan wetland; Mulshi and Pune).
44 species were displayed to the students in the 4 ecological settings through an identification kit designed as flash cards. The responses from the children were analysed for all 44 species and separately analysed for locale specificity.
ResultsIn most cases identification of birds was negligible. The most well known species were Tiger and Indian hare. In most cases the leopard was misidentified as cheetah.
More than 50% children were familiar with egret.
More than 50% of the children, living near the Tiger Reserves identified 11 species; Mulshi identified 5 species, 8 species were identified by majority of the children at Bhigwan. Only 1 species, namely the tiger was identified by the majority of urban children.
ConservationLocale specificity adds appreciably to learning if children have been exposed directly to Nature. Children were more enthusiastic about identification of species they knew from their surrounds which could be more easily used in bringing about conservation consciousness.