Does the Absence of Zoo Visitors during the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact Gorilla Behavior?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Mary Masman, Clarice Scarpace, Angelina Liriano, Susan W Margulis
Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
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Whether or not primates are behaviorally affected by the presence of visitors in a zoo setting is a question of great relevance to zoo animal well-being. The situation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic provided an unusual opportunity to examine how the absence of visitors impacts behavior. We took advantage of this opportunity to study the behavior of a gorilla troop during periods of no-visitors compared to our long-term database on gorilla behavior during normal zoo operations. While there were notable individual differences in response to visitors, we found no significant relationship between presence of visitors and behavior. These results suggest that the presence of visitors does not have a significant impact on behavior and well-being of zoo-housed gorillas.


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