Many conservation and management policies adopted in countries with megadiverse forest remnants largely neglect local human communities living in areas surrounding preserves. We investigated the attitudes and knowledge of teachers and students towards scorpions and frogs in the limits between a tropical rainforest reserve and a large Amazonian city. We aimed to identify possible deficiencies in environmental education and the level of knowledge about these animals. Data were collected from 110 students of both genders, aging between eight and 16 years old, representing four different schools located at the periphery of Manaus City, Amazonas State, Brazil. Written responses concerning personal experiences, knowledge, and background about the animals were collected from students and teachers through open- and closed-ended questions. Hand drawn responses were also gathered from the students. Members of the studied population showed more negative than positive attitudes towards scorpions and frogs. We found that gender and sex held similar attitudes in relation to these animals. However, boys tended to be more interested than girls were in the biology of scorpions. In addition, attitudes towards scorpions became more negative as age increased. Most students pictured scorpions and frogs as dangerous, lethal, or aggressive. Such conceptions were also recorded among teachers. We detected a huge lacuna in the knowledge on the importance and about biological and ecological aspects of both groups. Educational activities focused on emotional affinity of students with animals should be associated with traditional lessons, which can enhance conservation strategies.
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Vol. 36 • No. 2