Zoo soundscape: Daily variation of low‐to‐high‐frequency sounds

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Catherine Pelletier, Robert B Weladji, Louis Lazure, Patrick Paré
Zoo Biology
, , , ,

Most studies assessing the impact of noises on zoo animal welfare did not measure sound frequencies outside of the human‐hearing range (infrasounds and ultrasounds). Many nonhuman mammals can hear these frequencies, and because loud and variable soundscapes are potentially detrimental for animal welfare, this overlooked aspect of their acoustic environment could have important consequences. This study evaluated the soundscape of an urban zoo in a large frequency range (17.5–90,510 Hz) by measuring its average sound levels (Leq) and variability (the difference between highest and lowest peaks). Sound data were collected for 24 hr in 25 locations (e.g., indoor, outdoor, near the amusement park). The soundscape was not considered problematic for animal welfare when looking at the average sound levels in most locations (<77‐dB sound pressure level [SPL]), except for a few indoor areas and near the water park. Ultrasounds were rare, had low average sound levels, and were less variable in time. Infrasounds were always present and were the loudest and most variable sound frequencies. The soundscape was louder and more variable during the day and when visitors were present, suggesting that human‐related activities were the sources of these augmentations. Indoor environments were generally louder than outdoor environments and touristic features; however, the water park was near 85‐dB SPL during the day. On the basis of results, we suggest a series of mitigation actions to minimize noise‐related stress in captive animals.


Back to Resources