Zoos can provide us with wonderful opportunities to come up close and personal with some fascinating, and often endangered animals. They also act as 'arks' preserving the species in their care and helping researchers to understand how best to conserve the same species in the wild.
However, zoos need to preserve not just the genetics of the animals they care for, but also their specialised behaviours. Behaviour is one of the main ways in which animals adapt to their surroundings and their physical environment can shape their behaviour as well as altering the development of bones and muscles. But it is difficult for zoos to replicate challenging wild environments in a captive setting, both in terms of safety and practicality.
Enter Dr Jackie Chappell, who in partnership with Drayton Manor Zoo, is developing a handy tool that will help them to evaluate the behaviours of their animals and alter their enclosures to create more ‘wild-type’ environments. Discover how this can lead to improved animal welfare and conservation and find out how this encourages animals to express more of their natural behaviours like they would in the wild.
- Dr Jackie Chappell, Reader in Animal Behaviour, University of Birmingham