Science into Practice #123 Animal training, environmental enrichment, and animal welfare: a history of behaviour analysis in zoos

There have been many advancements in zoo animal welfare and management that are present in modern, accredited zoos. These have been shaped by two major behavioural welfare advances: (a) the use of training to increase voluntary husbandry care, and (b) the implementation of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviours. Both practices have their roots in behaviour analysis, or the operant conditioning-centered, reward-based approach. The authors present key individuals and events that formed two of the advancements of the modern zoo: (1) the emergence of reward-based husbandry training practices, and (2) the engineering of environmental enrichment. This paper suggests ways in which behaviour analysis can continue to advance zoo welfare.

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