The purpose of this study was to extend knowledge on how children understand their affiliation with an animal that can evoke both fear and care: bats. We interviewed 120 children, evenly divided between four age groups (6-7,9-10,12-13, and 15-16 years) after each child had visited an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo that displays Rodrigues fruit bats. Results showed that in the same children a fear orientation toward bats existed alongside of a caring orientation. Children accorded bats the right to live free and to be wild. Yet most of the same children also said that zoos did not violate the rights of bats by keeping them in captivity. Discussion focuses on this seeming contradiction, and the resulting implications for the ecological mission of many zoos today.
- Moral development