Implementing portable touchscreen-setups to enhance cognitive research and enrich zoo-housed animals

To understand the evolutionary development of cognition, comparing the cognitive capacities of different animal species is essential. However, getting access to various species with sufficient sample sizes can be very challenging. Zoos, housing large ranges of animal taxa, would offer ideal research environments, but zoo-based studies on cognition are still rare. The use of touchscreen-computers […]

Habitat Use and Structural Preferences of Captive Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla): Effects of Environmental and Social Variables

Exhibit naturalism has become the architectural standard for new zoo exhibits, yet our scientific understanding of how animals interact with naturalistic environments is very limited. Given the expense incurred in building new exhibits, it is essential that more information on animal-environment interactions be obtained and that it be incorporated at the outset into exhibit designs. […]

Bioacoustic Monitoring of Aggression in Group-Housed Rhesus Macaques

Many captive primate facilities house rhesus macaques in multimale-multifemale social groups in large enclosures that simulate the natural social and environmental features characteristic of the species, enhancing their reproductive performance as well as their psychological well-being, yet one of the most difficult management problems in socially housed macaques is their propensity for exhibiting spontaneous bouts […]

Linking levels of personality: personalities of the ‘average’ and ‘most extreme’ group members predict colony-level personality

Understanding how colony-level behaviour is determined is of evolutionary significance because colony-level traits can influence individual fitness and group success. Here we explore how the composition of individual behavioural types within colonies influences colony-level behaviour in the social spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum. First, we tested whether S. sarasinorum show stable individual differences in behaviour (i.e. individual […]

Reproductive and parental behavior in Taveta golden weavers (Ploceus castaneiceps)

Taveta golden weavers are popular in zoos, but little has been published on their reproduction, social behavior, or other aspects of their management. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom®, we have had great success with our breeding program and house a large flock in our mixed-species walk-through Africa aviary and smaller groups in the off-exhibit Avian Research […]