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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

Applied Animal Behavior

The field of Applied Animal Behavior specializes in the behavior of companion animals, the behavior of farm, zoo and laboratory animals and studies of the behavior of wild animals when these studies are relevant from an applied perspective, as well as methodological studies.

Applied Animal Behavior in Zoo Settings

Applied animal behaviorists in zoo settings have a number of different duties. Zoos, sanctuaries, and exotic animal facilities present unique challenges. These include behavioral mechanisms that can affect zoo animal welfare, species survival plans for endangered species, research on behavior and cognition that have both zoo and field behavior applications. Applied animal behaviorists in zoos:

1. Help design and advise on the development of zoo animal enrichment and species-typical behavior programs to enhance zoo animal physical and psychological welfare.

2. Conduct behavioral research on the effects of internal or external variables (for example, psychological wellbeing and visitor exposure types) on the behavior, cognition and wellbeing of animals in managed settings (eg., zoos, sanctuaries, laboratories).

3. Help design and advise on animal habitats, animal/human (staff and visitor) interactions.

4. Conduct behavioral research for zoo applications, field applications, and basic research (better understanding of behavioral mechanisms in different species).

5. Problem solve for behavior issues that arise between conspecifics, cross-species behavior, and animal/human interactions within the zoo.