Journal article

A multi-enclosure study investigating the behavioural response of meerkats to zoo visitors

Sally L Sherwen, Michael JL Magrath, Kym L Butler, Clive JC Phillips, Paul H Hemsworth

Applied Animal Behaviour Science | ELSEVIER | Published : 2014

Abstract

The scientific literature indicates that visitors may affect both the behaviour and welfare of zoo animals. Captive born slender-tailed meerkats, Suricata suricatta, at three exhibits were studied under two treatments (1) unregulated visitor behaviour and (2) regulated visitor behaviour, where signage was positioned requesting visitors to be quiet and not to interact with the animals. At each exhibit, treatments were imposed using a four-replicate paired comparison design, with each pair consisting of 2 consecutive days of different treatments. Meerkat behaviour and location were recorded using instantaneous sampling every 2. min over a total of 72. h across exhibits. The efficacy of the reg..

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