The Effect of Behind-The-Scenes Encounters and Interactive Presentations on the Welfare of Captive Servals (Leptailurus serval)

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation to such programs has not been investigated to date, and the aim of this study was to assess short-term welfare […]

The effects of increasing visitor and noise levels on birds within a free-flight aviary examined through enclosure use and behavior

Visitors in a zoo environment have the potential to impact the animals that they are viewing in a variety of ways. Recently, there have been suggestions that free-range enclosures, where visitors can walk directly through an animal’s exhibit, may reduce the potential for negative visitor impacts. The aim of this study was to examine associations […]

The Social Rank of Zoo-Housed Japanese Macaques is a Predictor of Visitor-Directed Aggression

The effect that visitors have on the behavior and welfare of animals is a widely-studied topic in zoo animal welfare. Typically, these studies focus on how the presence or activity levels of visitors affect animals. However, for many species, and particularly Primates, social factors, such as social rank, can also have a large impact on […]

The Visitor Effect on Zoo Animals: Implications and Opportunities for Zoo Animal Welfare

Achieving and maintaining high standards of animal welfare is critical to the success of a modern zoo. Research has shown that an animal’s welfare is highly dependent on how various individual animal factors (e.g., species traits, genetics, temperament and previous experience) interact with environmental features (e.g., social grouping, enclosure design and sensory environment). One prominent […]

Activity budget and spatial distribution of Bennett’s wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) in open versus closed exhibit designs

Although many studies investigating the impacts of zoo exhibit designs on captive animals exist, none have been performed on how they influence the behavior and welfare of captive Bennett’s wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus). Here, we assess the impact of exhibit design on the activity budget and spatial distribution of Bennett’s wallabies. We compared animal behavior in […]

Human-Ape Interactions in a Zoo Setting: Gorillas and Orangutans Modify Their Behavior Depending upon Human Familiarity

Understanding how human presence influences animal behavior, specifically the behavior of nonhuman primates, has important implications for methodology in cognitive and behavioral studies, for our understanding of human-animal relationships and for animal welfare in captive settings. Conducted in the San Diego Zoo, this study partially replicates an existing study on human-animal relationships, which focused on […]

Visitors’ Effects on the Welfare of Animals in the Zoo: A Review

Since the 1970s, research about zoo visitors’ effects on the welfare of nonhuman animals in captivity has intensified. Numerous studies have shown that characteristics such as visitor presence, density, activity, size, and position are associated with animal behavioral and–to a lesser extent physiological–changes. Studies usually interpret these changes as negative (undesirable) or positive (enriching), but […]

Impacts of visitor number on Kangaroos housed in free-range exhibits

Free range exhibits are becoming increasingly popular in zoos as a means to enhance interaction between visitors and animals. However very little research exists on the impacts of visitors on animal behaviour and stress in free range exhibits. We investigated the effects of visitor number on the behaviour and stress physiology of Kangaroo Island (KI) […]

Effects of crowd size on exhibit use by and behavior of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) at a zoo

Several factors are known to affect the overall well-being of captive apes, including facility design and the presence of and interaction with both familiar and unfamiliar humans. Several studies have examined the effects crowds of varying sizes have on the behavior of a wide taxonomic range of zoo-housed animals, including apes. However, previous investigations of […]

Effects of visitor numbers on captive European red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and impacts on visitor experience