A Preliminary Study Investigating the Impact of Musical Concerts on the Behavior of Captive Fiordland Penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) and Collared Peccaries (Pecari tajacu)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Lara Fanning, Hannah Larsen, Peta S Taylor
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Captive animal welfare is important for establishments that exhibit species for education, conservation, and research. However, captive animals are often exposed to a number of potential stressors, such as visitors and anthropogenic noise. We aimed to identify the impact of a concert series on the behaviour of Fiordland penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus; n = 2), and solitary- (n = 1) or group- (n = 4)-housed collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu). Animal behaviour, visitor density, and visitor behaviour was monitored pre-concert (afternoons; 16:00–19:00), during the concert (evenings; 19:00–21:00), and post-concert (nights; 21:00–00:00) on concert days (penguin n = 7 days; peccary n = 8 days) and in the same periods on days when there was no concert (penguin n = 8 days; peccary n = 6 days). Fiordland penguins spent more time surface swimming and diving in the pool on concert afternoons and evenings (all p < 0.001), more time in the nest on concert nights (p < 0.001), preened less on concert afternoons and nights (p = 0.019), and engaged with their habitat less on concert evenings and nights (p = 0.002) compared to these periods on days without a concert. The group-housed peccaries slept more in the afternoon and evening (p ≤ 0.01) and were more vigilant at night (p = 0.009) on concert days compared to no-concert days. The solitary-housed peccary slept more on concert nights (p = 0.035), rested more frequently across all time periods on concert days (p < 0.001), and used the front of the enclosure more across all concert time periods (p < 0.001) compared to no-concert days. We provide evidence that behaviour was altered on event days; however, we cannot determine the nature of these changes. Further research is needed to understand the impact of music concerts on zoo animal welfare.


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