CZAAWE Resource Article

Retreat space and human visitor density moderate undesirable behavior in petting zoo animals
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2002
Publication/Journal 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Abstract 
This study focused on the relationship between nonhuman animal behavior and envi-ronment- specifically, between the undesirable behavior exhibited by domestic pet-ting zoo animals in the presence of humans and the spatial design of the petting zoo environment. A spatial feature of a petting zoo referred to as a retreat space was ma-nipulated so that it affected the animals' opportunity for individual control over inter-action with humans. Three conditions were tested: no retreat space, semi-retreat space, and a full-retreat space. The subjects of this study were 5 African pygmy goats (Capra hircus) and 2 Romanov sheep (Ovis aries). Investigators used a focal sam-pling technique to analyze approximately 27 hr of behavioral data collected. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression methods. The findings suggest that the full-retreat design beneficially moderated both sheep and goat behavior: Undesirable behaviors were lowest in the full-retreat condition. This study provides information that may improve human-animal interactions in a petting zoo setting and may in-crease animal well-being through exhibit design and management techniques.