Title

Behavior in Zoo-Housed Captive Ring-Tailed (Lemur catta) and Red Ruffed (Varecia rubra) Lemurs at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Literature on zoo visitors’ effects on animal behavior has yielded conflicting findings regarding the potential detrimental impact, with some studies positing that noise levels, rather than visitor numbers, are stressful to captive mammals. The current study observed behavior of red ruffed lemurs (n = 3) and ringtailed lemurs (n = 5) living in adjacent outdoor habitats at the Woodland Park Zoo, from July to October, 2019. For both lemur groups, vigilance to external sources, including overhead flight paths and construction noises, occupied the largest proportion of activity budgets after resting behaviors. Red ruffed lemurs spent a smaller proportion of their activity budgets on vigilance compared to ring-tailed lemurs; a surprising finding given research showing that vigilance is higher in smaller groups. The high levels of vigilance suggest that the zoo enclosures, which include waterfalls designed to mitigate the impact of external sounds, are not fully ameliorating potentially stressful environmental stimuli.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kara Gabriel

Department/Program

Psychology

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Behavior in Zoo-Housed Captive Ring-Tailed (Lemur catta) and Red Ruffed (Varecia rubra) Lemurs at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA

Ellensburg

Literature on zoo visitors’ effects on animal behavior has yielded conflicting findings regarding the potential detrimental impact, with some studies positing that noise levels, rather than visitor numbers, are stressful to captive mammals. The current study observed behavior of red ruffed lemurs (n = 3) and ringtailed lemurs (n = 5) living in adjacent outdoor habitats at the Woodland Park Zoo, from July to October, 2019. For both lemur groups, vigilance to external sources, including overhead flight paths and construction noises, occupied the largest proportion of activity budgets after resting behaviors. Red ruffed lemurs spent a smaller proportion of their activity budgets on vigilance compared to ring-tailed lemurs; a surprising finding given research showing that vigilance is higher in smaller groups. The high levels of vigilance suggest that the zoo enclosures, which include waterfalls designed to mitigate the impact of external sounds, are not fully ameliorating potentially stressful environmental stimuli.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/107