Which zoo animals boost ticket sales the most?

Zoos with “popular” animals really do fare better. Our infographic reveals the big winners and the unfortunate losers (sorry, hippos!).

 

The arrival of two Chinese pandas in Canada next year should mean a big payoff for their host zoos. The pair, Er Shun and Ji Li, will spend five years at the Toronto Zoo before moving to Calgary in 2018. While each zoo has promised to donate $1 million per year to panda conservation in China (and spend another $500,000 on bamboo to feed the beasts), the expenditure should be worth it. The Toronto Zoo alone expects to turn close to a $5-million profit over their residency. But for those zoos lacking pandas, we wonder: What other animals can boost ticket sales? To find out, University of Glasgow professor Andrew William Whitworth surveyed British zoogoers about which characteristics they like to see in animals (“active”) and which they don’t (“smelly”). He then ranked animals according to those characteristics, finding that zoos with “popular” animals really do fare better.


 

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