Is there a visitor effect on Abyssinian Ground Hornbills (Bucorvus abyssinicus), Papuan Wreathed Hornbills (Aceros plicatus), Wrinkled Hornbills (Aceros corrugatus) and Toco Toucans (Ramphastos toco) in a captive zoo environment?

Susanna Thicks

Abstract


Research into the possible effects that zoo visitors have on the captive animals they come to visit is still relatively poorly understood. Most of the studies all ready completed have used non-human primate subjects, but there is a distinct lack of studies using non-primate species. One of the groups that are in particular need of this kind of research is birds. This study examines a potential visitor effect in captive Abyssinian Ground Hornbills (Bucorvus abyssinicus), Papuan Wreathed Hornbills (Aceros plicatus), Wrinkled Hornbills (Aceros corrugatus) and Toco Toucans (Ramphastos toco) at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park®. This study also investigates the evenness of enclosure use, using the original Spread of Participation Index. Chi-Squared Association Tests revealed conflicting potential visitor effects on behaviour within the Abyssinian Ground Hornbills. Significant associations were also seen in a number of individuals between height (m) and visitor number and location and visitor number, with the majority of individuals appearing in the outside zones more frequently with increasing visitor density. However, this study could not establish what aspect of visitor presence was causing these effects. All the birds, with the exception of Abyssinian Ground Hornbill 1 and 2 showed unevenness in enclosure use. Establishing a potential visitor effect can be beneficial with regards to the welfare of the subject animals. Should a stressful effect be seen, then changes can be implemented to reduce this and improve living conditions and health for the animals.

Full Text:

PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

ISSN 1754-2383 [Online] ©University of Plymouth