A new feeding concept offering speciesappropriate animal enrichment and visitor attraction at the same time

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Viktoria Michel, Marcus Clauss, Dennis WH Müller, Sven Hammer
Der Zoologische Garten NF
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Zoological gardens are considered important institutions for human-animal interactions. Facilitating human-animal contacts and the simultaneous protection of the animals from possible distress by visitors represent an important task of zoological gardens. We investigated the effects of a new roughage feeding setup for zoo-kept domestic herbivores on both, animals and visitors. In the setup, visitors are provided with roughages to put into feeding troughs for the animals. Data collection via video monitoring of domestic cattle (Bos primigenius taurus, B. p. indicus) enclosures and associated visitors’ areas took place over a 30-day period for two consecutive years at three different zoological gardens. In one zoo the setup was in place in both years, and in the two others it was introduced in the second year prior to data recording. At the two zoos where the feeding regime was introduced, the average daily number of visitors and the overall time they spent together with animals (but not the average time per visitor) increased, as did the number of times that an animal approached a visitor. While there was no differencebetween the years in overall feeding time, feeding was more evenly distributed across the day after the introduction of visitor feeding, with a higher number of feeding bouts per animal. The setup offers possibilities for enhancing welfare of certain animals and simultaneously offering an individual visitor feeding experience.


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