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The effects of personality of keepers and tigers ( Panthera tigris tigris ) on their behaviour in an interactive zoo exhibit

By C. Phillips, D. Peck

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Personalities can be determined for individual animals from their distinctive patterns of behaviour, providing that they are consistent across time and situations. Although there have been no previous studies of the role of personality in keeper:tiger interactions in zoos/wildlife parks, previous research has determined that cat personality can be reliably assessed from their attributed feelings in social interactions. We asked tiger keepers to rate the personality of their tigers from a list of adjectives, and they consistently used terms relating to three domains representing extroversion, agreeableness and youthfulness. These did not correlate well with simple records of tiger behaviour taken over a short period of time. However, self assessed keeper personalities correlated well with keeper behaviour during interactions with the tigers, which mainly involved intercepting fighting tigers, clapping their hands to elicit a change in behaviour and pushing them to make them move. It is concluded that keeper, but not tiger, personality has strong connections to the interactive behaviour between the two in an interactive zoo exhibit.

Date 2007
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 106
Issue 4
Pages 244-258
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2007.01.007
Language English
Author Address Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, Gatton Campus, School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Carnivores
  6. Cats
  7. Employees
  8. Gardens
  9. Mammals
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. Personality
  12. personnel
  13. staff
  14. tigers
  15. Zoo and captive wild animals
  16. Zoos
  1. peer-reviewed