Kids don’t know their Animals Anymore

Ar at least if we are to believe the following story,
Attenborough alarmed as children are left flummoxed by test on the natural world

This is a caracal (a wildcat found in Africa and Asia),

and I’m guessing (if the story is accurate)that most children don’t know that, to be fair though, most adults probably don’t know that either.

The only reason I know it is because of this book I was given as a child, a book on African wildlife. I spent many hours poring over the pages of this book, so much so that eventually the binding gave out.

I found this bit from the story interesting,

Sir David Attenborough warned that children who lack any understanding of the natural world would not grow into adults who cared about the environment. “The wild world is becoming so remote to children that they miss out,” he said, “and an interest in the natural world doesn’t grow as it should. Nobody is going protect the natural world unless they understand it.”

Not sure how accurate this is since I grew up with perhaps an unhealthy understanding of the natural world and upon entering adulthood didn’t give a rip about the environment (this has since then changed though I don’t intend to start worshiping “Mother Nature” anytime soon). Perhaps they’re not as related as Attenborough seems to think?

2 Responses to Kids don’t know their Animals Anymore

  1. katdish says:

    That looks like my cat Rudy with some feathers stapled to the back of his head…(tape, of course…I meant tape…)

  2. Jade says:

    It sounds to me that they are applying this study in a universal fashion. From my understanding, they are basing this conclusion off of a magazine quiz with only around 700 child participants. While 700 is a considerable number, it is still rather small if you take the entire youth population into consideration.

    Region is also a factor. For example here in Montana, USA, everyone (that I’m aware of) knows the difference between a whitetail deer and a pronghorn antelope. Hunting and outdoor related activities are MAJOR. God help the poor one who can’t tell the difference between a pine and an oak tree in these parts. On the other hand, you get tourists from back East or California with city backgrounds in Yellowstone who hardly know what a buffalo looks like. Its not surprising that UK children do well when identifying badgers and robins (since both, especially badgers, are associated with the UK). So again, region and practices of that region will determine what kind of flora and fauna are commonly known and how many species the common person will know.

    And as you pointed out, not having a “country kid” background will not always produce a person who is more interested in exploiting then protecting the environment. Panda conservation in China and “save the tiger” efforts in India are good examples. People worldwide donate to both causes and yet the average donor has never even been to China or India, yet they still care about the animals there.

    While exposing children to the great outdoors is a great idea (and beneficial in more ways then one) I would not call the act of not doing so “life threatening.”

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