Understanding the educational and entertainment opportunities of the 'modern' zoo : a case study based on the Johannesburg Zoo.
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The management of the Johannesburg Zoo is currently attempting to 'turnaround' the entity. Being a part of the team that assisted the Johannesburg Zoo to formulate its business plan in 2004, the researcher developed an affiliation to the zoo and was motivated to assist management with their efforts by conducting this study. The major problem identified for the Johannesburg Zoo was that of how to secure the support of current patrons and increase patronage particularly in respect of the increasing support of alternate entertainment offerings. The study employed structured open-ended questionnaires to collect data from selected patrons and employees of the zoo. The findings of the study, following the literature review and analysis of findings from the field, resulted in a number of conclusions. First, the researcher realized that the Johannesburg Zoo has experienced a 'decline and crisis' phase in previous years. Happily, the researcher also discovered that there were triggers for changes that encouraged the formulation of a recovery strategy. The researcher has used these very triggers to offer robust recommendations to revitalize the zoo in terms of the product offering, marketing, financial and operational initiatives.