Abstract # 6059 Event # 83:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 10:25 AM-10:40 AM: Session 13 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


APE-HUMAN INTERACTIONS IN THE ZOO: IMPLICATIONS FOR APE WELFARE AND ZOO RESEARCH

J. J. Smith
York University, 4700 Keele Street, Behavioral Science Building Rm 101, Toronto, ON M3J 2S5, USA
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     Zoo environments are defined, in part, by the chronic presence of humans and human-animal interactions (HAIs). However, a recent review of the literature reported a dearth of HAI studies in zoos, particularly studies of interactions with humans other than unfamiliar visitors (Hosey & Melfi, 2014). This is changing as researchers recognize the importance of understanding zoo animals’ HAIs with a wider range of humans (i.e., keepers/caretakers, other zoo professionals, researchers, and familiar visitors) and the resultant human-animal relationships (HARs) that may develop (Chelluri et al 2013; Hosey, 2013; Hosey & Melfi, 2012; Smith, 2014). Primates are among the most frequently studied zoo animals (Melfi, 2005) and have traditionally accounted for the majority of HAI studies in zoos in the form of visitor impact studies (Hosey, 2000). Recent research has questioned the nature and implications of primates’ HAIs/HARs with a wider range of humans and produced results that call to question traditional practices and beliefs for both primate welfare and research (e.g., negative impacts of zoo visitors; benefits vs. costs of “positive” primate-keeper interactions; pooling data across species, behavior types, or social targets). Using recent research as a focal point, this presentation will provide a brief overview of HAIs/HARs in zoo primates and discuss their implications for primate welfare as well as for the design and outcomes of zoo research.