Lockdown during the covid pandemic also affected the behavior of primates in the zoo – Earth – Science and technology

Primates in zoos and safari parks spent more time alone and consumed less food during the first lockdown. There was also more competition for dominance and more sexual activity in their behavior during the coronavirus pandemic.

A scientific study in the journal Animals looked at changes in the behavior of lowland gorillas, several species of chimpanzees and baboons after zoos reopened.

“Primates are the most cognitively advanced species in zoos and their interactions with visitors are complex. “Zoos and parks are rarely closed to the public for extended periods of time, which gave us a unique opportunity to investigate how visitors affect animal behaviour,” explained Samantha Ward from Nottingham Trent University (NTU), who researches animal welfare in captivity.

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After the visitors returned, the bonobo chimpanzees and gorillas spent more time in various activities in the enclosures, were less alone and also rested less. In the case of baboons in the safari park, the researchers noted lower sexual activity and less competition for dominance within the group. Visitors’ cars were also approached more often than rangers’ cars before when the park was closed.

Human-animal interactions are thought to be key to the living conditions of captive animals, research suggests. It has been shown that different animal species, and even individual animals, react differently to different people. However, the return of visitors seems to have had a positive effect on the chimpanzees and baboons. The same was true of gorillas, who now spend less time alone.

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“Our study showed how the life of primates in captivity can be affected in different ways. Changes in behavior and use of spaces in the presence of visitors show how important it is to provide animals with an environment that allows them to actively adapt to change,” said Ellen Williams from the UK’s Harper Adams University.

Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.

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