Journal of Biodiversity Management & ForestryISSN: 2327-4417

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The Effect of Zoo Visitors on Activity Patterns of Captive African Herbivores

The Effect of Zoo Visitors on Activity Patterns of Captive African Herbivores

The role of zoos to conserve biodiversity is increasingly being recognized, but greater attention must be paid to good captive health, welfare, and population viability of species of interest. Several researchers have reported on the visitor effect on captive primate and felid behavior, and research has remained scarce on large captive herbivores, particularly in a mixed-species exhibit. The effect of zoo visitors on the activity budgets of twelve herbivores of four species at the Granby Zoo was investigated. The activity budget of individuals was monitored during the pre- and peak visitor seasons for a total of 20 observation days. Number of visitors had an effect on the daily activity budgets of Common elands and Thomson’s gazelle but did not have an effect on giraffes and zebras. The proportion of time spent feeding by Thomson’s gazelles increased whilst that of elands decreased as the number of visitors increased. This study summarizes the information on the activity of these species in the wild and provides new information on these species in captivity.

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