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A comprehensive investigation of negative visitor behaviour in the zoo setting and captive animals’ behavioural response

Negative visitor behaviour in zoos such as banging, shouting and feeding animals are unwanted, but under-studied, visitor actions. It is not known how prevalent negative behaviour is, which species or enclosure type receives the most negative behaviour or how these behaviours affect zoo-housed animals. In this study, a comprehensive assessment of negative visitor behaviour, using an innovative methodology, was conducted at 25 different enclosures at Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland. Additionally, animal activity level and out of sight behaviour was observed.

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Behavioural Changes in Zoo Animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Long-Term, Multi Species Comparison

Visitors are a prominent feature of the zoo environment and lives of zoo animals. The COVID-19 pandemic led to repeated and extended closure periods for zoos worldwide. This unique period in zoological history enabled the opportunity to investigate the consistency of behavioural responses of zoo animals to closures and subsequent reopenings. Bennett’s wallabies (Notamacropus rufogriseus), meerkats (Suricata suricatta), macaws (red and green: Ara chloropterus; blue and yellow: Ara ararauna; military: Ara militaris) and rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus) held at four

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The influence of feeding opportunities of six zoohoused Giraffa camelopardalis rothschild

Previous studies on captive giraffes have shown that an increase in foraging opportunities leads to reduced abnormal behaviour. This study evaluates the nocturnal behaviours of six captive giraffes, housed in Aalborg Zoo (N: 57.04°, E: 9.90°). The herd consists of one male giraffe (age 8), one male calf (age 1 ½), two female giraffe (age 7; 20) and two female calves (age 8 months; 2 years). The observations lasted eight nights and compared two observation periods (October and November) with

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Why Giraffes have Anxiety

The location of zoos in metropolitan areas exposes animals to stressors that they are not biologically adapted to. The abundance of visitors and their close proximity to the animals causes undue harm to the creatures’ welfare, resulting in a poor quality of life.

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Social networks research in ex situ populations: Patterns, trends, and future directions for conservation‐focused behavioral research

Social networks research using non‐human animals has grown over the past decade, utilizing a wide range of species to answer an array of pure and applied questions. Network approaches have relevance to conservation, evaluating social influences on fecundity, health, fitness and longevity. While the application of network approaches to in situ populations with conservation concern appears in published literature, the degree to which ex situ and zoo‐housed populations are the focus of “social networks for conservation research” is limited. Captive

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Development of an image-based body condition score for giraffes Giraffa camelopardalis and a comparison of zoo-housed and free-ranging individuals

Historically, giraffes (Giraffa spp.) in zoos are known to have a high prevalence of deaths associated with serous fat atrophy, which has been linked to the impression that as browsers, they are more difficult to feed appropriately compared to grazing ruminants. Therefore, one could expect zoo-housed giraffes to be peculiar in that they might have, on average, a lower body condition than their free-ranging conspecifics. We collected photographs of free-ranging and zoo-housed individuals and used information on sex, age, body

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Impacts of COVID-19 on Animals in Zoos: A Longitudinal Multi-Species Analysis

Prolonged and repetitive COVID-19 facility closures have led to an abrupt cessation of visitors within UK and Irish zoos for variable periods since March 2020. This study sought to increase understanding of the impact of closures and reopenings on animal behaviour, thereby broadening understanding of whether zoo animals habituate to visitors. Data were collected from June to August 2020 at two UK facilities on eight species (n = 1 Chinese goral, n = 2 Grevy’s zebra, n = 11 swamp

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Does oral stereotypy in captive giraffes decrease by feeding them evergreens and barks in winter?

Recently, several zoos have aimed to improve the welfare of captive animals by adopting certain feeding enrichments, particularly to address oral stereotypy in giraffes. Research has revealed that the utilization of certain feeding enrichments, such as browsing enrichment, is effective for preventing oral stereotypy. However, feeding of browsing enrichment may be difficult in winter, although its effect is not evident in this season based on previous studies. Therefore, the weight of tree feed foraged by the giraffes and their behavior,

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Nighttime Suckling Behavior in Captive Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)

Suckling behaviors are useful to better understand mother–offspring relationships. However, in many species, knowledge about nighttime suckling behavior is sparse. In the present study, we investigated suckling behavior in four calves of the reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and their mother in the Kyoto City Zoo, Japan, by analyzing video clips of 9614 h. The relation between a calf’s age and the mean duration and frequency of suckling were consistent with the results of previous daytime studies: the longest duration

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Enclosure size in captive wild mammals: A comparison between UK zoological collections and the wild

A comparison was made between the average enclosure size of a random sample of mammals lept during the years 2000-2001in a random sample of UK zoological collections and the minimum home range of these taxa in the wild. Allometric laws were used to estimate the home range area, while direct observation from videotaped visits to the collections was used to estimate enclosure size area. The results showed that, as an average, the average enclosure size had an area 100 times

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