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The impact of the open and closed exhibit designs on captive Bennett's wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) behaviour and visitor experience

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The impact of the open and closed exhibit designs on captive Bennett's wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) behaviour and visitor experience

Beaudin-Judd, Julie (2017) The impact of the open and closed exhibit designs on captive Bennett's wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) behaviour and visitor experience. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Zoo research on exhibit designs has made notable progress in the past decades. A great challenge zoo exhibit designers are faced with today is finding exhibit designs that optimize both animal welfare and visitor experience. In the present research, the impacts of exhibit design on Bennett’s wallaby behaviour and on visitor experience were studied. Data collected from two open design exhibits, allowing physical interaction between visitors and animals, were compared to observations from two closed exhibit designs, where no physical human-animal interaction was possible. Wallaby behavioural data were collected using the focal sampling method for activity budget observations and the scan sampling method for spatial distribution observations. Moreover, visitor experience data were collected using survey-type questionnaires that were randomly distributed to zoo visitors. Our study revealed that, when compared to more traditional closed designs, open exhibit designs increase overall visitor experience and positively benefit visitor perception. Additionally, our results showed that feeding and interactive behaviours were significantly higher in closed exhibit designs but functional use of space was similar in both exhibit design types. Although some behaviours did significantly differ between habitat designs, they did not provide sufficient evidence for major exhibit design impacts on wallaby welfare. However, possible visitor effects on Bennett’s wallaby activity budgets and space use was discussed. Our results suggest that the open exhibit design is a good option for optimizing visitor experience without affecting animal welfare, but we recommend continued research to more fully understand the impacts of different exhibit designs on the behaviour and welfare of captive Bennett’s wallabies.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Beaudin-Judd, Julie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Biology
Date:14 April 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Weladji, Robert
ID Code:982426
Deposited By: JULIE BEAUDIN-JUDD
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 15:03
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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