CZAAWE Resource Article

Animal–visitor interactions in the modern zoo: Conflicts and interventions
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
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 stress for many species, particularly primates. We review two general classes of research examining animal–visitor interactions in zoos: (1) effects of exhibit design and the behavior of the animals on zoo visitors, and (2) effects of zoo visitors on the behavior of exhibited animals.We suggest that interventions based on careful attention to exhibit design, species characteristics, and visitor education can increase positive animal–visitor interactions and facilitate the multiple goals of modern zoos.