Visitor effects on zoo animals
zoo animalsvistorspresence of visitorscaptive animalshuman visitors
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It is extremely useful to know if the presence of visitors has an effect on zoo animals and what that might be (Hosey, 2000). The three foremost reasons for this being, firstly, as an instrument to ensure welfare, secondly to apply the insight when providing a positive ‘zoo experience’ for guests and lastly, so that any research conducted within a zoo can be accurately assessed (Hosey, 2005). When confronted with the knowledge that approximately 26 billion animals, covering ten thousand species, are held in captivity (Mason, 2010) it becomes especially important. The first studies performed in order to appreciate this relationship were carried out in the 1970’s and by the late 1980’s a collection of studies had emerged which discovered that zoo visitors did have an influence on the activities of captive animals to greater degree than was once imagined (Davey, 2007). Hosey (2000) identified three different possible consequences of a ‘visitor effect’, that a human audience can be stressful (negative), enriching (positive) or of no effect. Many different species have been observed to show an assortment of reactions to unknown people (Claxton, 2011), however, one study by Hosey (2008) suggests that an animal showing no signs of disturbance may just not be expressing it through changes in their actions so caution must be given when considering results. Discussed below are...
Sade, C. (2013) 'Visitor effects on zoo animals', The Plymouth Student Scientist, 6(1), p. 423-433.
University of Plymouth
The Plymouth Student Scientist