What Is the Future for Zoos and Aquariums?

Animal welfare concerns have plagued the professional zoo and aquarium field for decades. Societal differences remain concerning the well-being of animals, but it appears a shift is emerging. Scientific studies of animal welfare have dramatically increased, establishing that many previous concerns were not misguided public empathy or anthropomorphism. As a result, both zoo and aquarium […]

Are “visitor effects” overestimated? Behaviour in captive lemurs is mainly driven by co-variation with time and weather

The concept that visitors affect behaviour of captive animals has interested zookeepers since the 1960s. However, to date no studies on “visitor effects” have allowed for time of day and weather, which can affect behaviour directly and frequently co-vary with visitor numbers. Here, we examine visitor effects on captive ring-tailed lemurs Lemur catta in a […]

A Zoo Animal’s Neighbourhood: How Conspecific Neighbours Impact Welfare

While the zoological community strives to provide the best possible living environment for non-human animals, space limitations constrain where zoos can house particular species. Therefore, an individual may live in proximity to animals that impact its behaviour, physiology, reproductive function or overall welfare status. This article examines how solitary and social species living in managed […]

Zoo Research Guidelines: Project Planning and Behavioural Observations

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Comparison of the behaviour of European brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) in six different parks, with particular attention to stereotypies

In order to assess the influence of environmental parameters on their behaviour, 16 European brown bears were observed in six different zoological parks. Activities were measured by scan sampling and their relationships to housing conditions were established by multifactorial correspondence analysis and cluster analysis. The largest enclosures were characterised by high scores of play, social […]

Comparison between 28 zoological parks: stereotypic and social behaviours of captive brown bears

In the present study we compared 33 enclosures in 28 parks, with a total of 66 bears. We chose direct observation of behaviour rather than surveys. Each enclosure was observed during one day; stereotypies and social relationships were qualitatively noted in types and amount. The connections of behaviour with bears characteristics and types of management […]

Issues of choice and control in the behaviour of a pair of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

Stereotyped behaviour occurs in a wide variety of captive animals including ursids. The provision of animal control over aspects of their environment by providing choices is a critical element for improving welfare. The behaviour of two sibling polar bears at a metropolitan zoo was examined to investigate the effect of providing access to their indoor, […]

A survey assessment of variables related to stereotypy in captive giraffe and okapi.

Stereotypic behavior has been investigated in a wide variety of animals, but little published information is available on this problem in captive exotic ungulates. A survey was used to gather information on the prevalence of stereotypic behavior in giraffe and okapi and to identify variables associated with these behaviors. Of the 71 institutions that received […]

Group differences in captive gorillas’ reaction to large crowds

The impact of visitor crowd size on captive animal behaviour can be difficult to interpret in many institutions due to the lack of variation in crowd size over short periods of time. In attempts to compare greater variation in crowd size, animal behaviour is often compared over conditions that create additional confounds, such as day […]

Gorilla Behavior Index revisited: Age, housing and behavior

While personality and temperament assessments are becoming more common in animal science as a means for predicting behavior patterns, they are virtually unstudied in exotic animals outside of chimpanzees. We assessed behavioral profiles of 119 male gorillas using the Gorilla Behavior Index (GBI) and paired this assessment with behavior data on 25 male gorillas from […]