The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit https://habri.org/grants/funding-opportunities/ close

Support

Support Options

Report a problem

About you
About the problem
 
You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Keeper-Animal Interactions: Differences between the Behaviour of Zoo Animals Affect Stockmanship / About

Keeper-Animal Interactions: Differences between the Behaviour of Zoo Animals Affect Stockmanship

By Samantha J Ward, Vicky Melfi

Licensed under Public Domain

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Stockmanship is a term used to describe the management of animals with a good stockperson someone who does this in a in a safe, effective, and low-stress manner for both the stock-keeper and animals involved. Although impacts of unfamiliar zoo visitors on animal behaviour have been extensively studied, the impact of stockmanship i.e familiar zoo keepers is a new area of research; which could reveal significant ramifications for zoo animal behaviour and welfare. It is likely that different relationships are formed dependant on the unique keeper-animal dyad (human-animal interaction, HAI). The aims of this study were to (1) investigate if unique keeper-animal dyads were formed in zoos, (2) determine whether keepers differed in their interactions towards animals regarding their attitude, animal knowledge and experience and (3) explore what factors affect keeper-animal dyads and ultimately influence animal behaviour and welfare. Eight black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), eleven Chapman’s zebra (Equus burchellii), and twelve Sulawesi crested black macaques (Macaca nigra) were studied in 6 zoos across the UK and USA. Subtle cues and commands directed by keepers towards animals were identified. The animals latency to respond and the respective behavioural response (cue-response) was recorded per keeper-animal dyad (n = 93). A questionnaire was constructed following a five-point Likert Scale design to record keeper demographic information and assess the job satisfaction of keepers, their attitude towards the animals and their perceived relationship with them. There was a significant difference in the animals’ latency to appropriately respond after cues and commands from different keepers, indicating unique keeper-animal dyads were formed. Stockmanship style was also different between keepers; two main components contributed equally towards this: “attitude towards the animals” and “knowledge and experience of the animals”. In this novel study, data demonstrated unique dyads were formed between keepers and zoo animals, which influenced animal behaviour.

Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Samantha J Ward; Vicky Melfi (2018), "Keeper-Animal Interactions: Differences between the Behaviour of Zoo Animals Affect Stockmanship," http://habricentral.org/resources/63063.

    BibTex | EndNote

Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Mammals
  3. Social Environments
  4. Zoos