The Ethical Assessment of Touch Pools in Aquariums by Means of the Ethical Matrix

Touch pools are popular open-topped fish tanks often found in aquariums where visitors may interact with animals, by touching and sometimes even feeding them, for educational and recreational purposes. However, although animal interactions are becoming increasingly popular in recent years, the welfare impact on the animals and the educational effectiveness of such interactions is under […]

A Protocol for the Ethical Assessment of Wild Animal-Visitor Interactions (AVIP) Evaluating Animal Welfare, Education, and Conservation Outcomes

Due to the popularity of wild animal–visitor interactions(AVIs),there is a need for an ethical assessment of their impact on animal welfare, education, and conservation. The protocol presented in this study is designed to evaluate such interactions on an integrated level, using a transparent analysis of all the aspects involved, including all the stakeholders and the […]

A Close Keeper–Nonhuman Animal Distance Does Not Reduce Undesirable Behavior in Contact Yard Goats and Sheep

This study investigated the relation between zookeeper-nonhuman animal distance and the undesirable behavior goats and sheep exhibited toward visitors of Zoo Atlanta’s contact yard. It hypothesized that a close distance between keeper and animal would be associated with a lower rate of undesirable behavior than would a distant keeper-animal distance. The study recorded rate of […]

Longitudinal study of delayed reproductive success in a pair of white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys)

Concern over a lack of breeding success in a pair of white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys) prompted a four-part study of gibbon behavior and physiology at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Data were collected to determine the female intermenstrual interval (IMI) and identify periods of peak receptivity. Subsequent behavioral data were gathered during both female menses and […]

Assessing the Effects of New Primate Exhibits on Zoo Visitors’ Attitudes and Perceptions by Using Three Different Assessment Methods

Using three different methods, this study investigated how zoo visitors behaved in response to both old and new exhibits of four nonhuman primate species and how they perceived these primates. On-site observations showed that zoo visitors were more likely to stop in front of new exhibits and spend more time viewing new exhibits compared with […]

An Hourly Variation in Zoo Visitor Interest: Measurement and Significance for Animal Welfare Research

A methodological difficulty facing welfare research on nonhuman animals in the zoo is the large number of uncontrolled variables due to variation within and between study sites. Zoo visitors act as uncontrolled variables, with number, density, size, and behavior constantly changing. This is worrisome because previous research linked visitor variables to animal behavioral changes indicative […]

Animal–visitor interactions in the modern zoo: Conflicts and interventions

Animal welfare, education, conservation, research, and entertainment are major goals of modern zoos, but they can be in conflict. For example, visitors enjoy learning about and observing natural behavior in captive animals, but visitors often want to observe and interact with the animals in close proximity. Unfortunately, proximity to and social interactions with humans induce […]

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in U.S. zoos: II. behavior, breeding success, and mortality in relation to housing facilities

Abstract The captive population of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is not self-sustaining. The reasons for suboptimal reproduction and high mortality need to be investigated. This can only be achieved by cross-institutional analyses of environments, behavior, and performance. In this study, we collected data on 23 zoos with black rhinoceros to compare zoo environments with reproductive […]

Reducing acoustic disturbances by aquarium visitors

Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1997)16:43.3.CO;2-M Knocking on the glass front of aquarium exhibits is a considerable disturbance for resident fish. The knocking behavior of visitors to the Tiergarten Schönbrunn Wien was recorded, and the effect of signage in reducing this behavior was experimentally tested. Knocking occurred at a rate of nearly two knocks per 100 visitors during baseline […]

Zoo Animals and Their Human Audiences: What is the Visitor Effect?

The presence of human visitors has been shown to affect the behaviour of several different mammalian species in a number of different zoos, but the behavioural changes observed are not always consistent with a simple ‘stressful influence’ explanation. Data for non-primate species are too sparse to draw meaningful conclusions; but for primates, the evidence reviewed […]