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A comparison of zoo animal behavior in the presence of familiar and unfamiliar people

By R. A. Martin, V. Melfi

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As recorded in domestic nonhuman animals, regular interactions between animals in zoos and keepers and the resulting relationship formed (human-animal relationship [HAR]) are likely to influence the animals' behaviors with associated welfare consequences. HAR formation requires that zoo animals distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar people. This ability was tested by comparing zoo animal behavioral responses to familiar (routine) keepers and unfamiliar keepers (participants in the "Keeper for the Day" program). Study subjects included 1 African elephant (Loxodonta Africana), 3 Rothschild's giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), 2 Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris), and 2 slender-tailed meerkats (Suricata suricatta). Different behavior was evident and observed as decreased avoidance behavior toward familiar keepers (t7=6.00, p

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 19
Issue 3
Pages 234-244
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2015.1129907
Language English
Author Address School of Biological Sciences, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Behavioral research
  5. Brazil
  6. Carnivores
  7. Developing countries
  8. Effect
  9. Elephants
  10. Giraffes
  11. Interactions
  12. Latin America
  13. Mammals
  14. Meerkats
  15. Mongoose
  16. Ruminants
  17. South America
  18. tapir
  19. Threshold Countries
  20. ungulates
  21. United States of America
  22. vertebrates
  23. Veterinary sciences
  24. Zoo and captive wild animals
  25. Zoological gardens
  26. Zoology