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Research On Naturalistic Zoo Exhibits And Visitor Perceptions

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Zooplantman, 27 Apr 2015.

  1. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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  2. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Personally I've theorized that naturalistic exhibits do a better job at teaching guests that these are animals that live in the wild. They're not just looking at an animal in a zoo exhibit, they're looking at something that represents a thing out in the wild. What do you guys think? I'd be interested to see more studies on this topic.
     
  3. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I believe that is pretty much confirmed by their research.

    As to more, See their citations and also http://openworks.wooster.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6452&context=independentstudy
     
  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I spent time perusing both articles and I actually found the second one that you gave a link to the more interesting of the two. I've been a major supporter of exhibits with a high degree of naturalism and yet there are many zoo nerds that lean towards the idea of endorsing more functional enclosures. It seems from the information in both articles on this thread that zoo visitors will spend longer observing an exhibit that is more naturalistic and filled with enrichment items in comparison to an exhibit that might have easily-viewed animals but is barren and plain.

    Perhaps more ZooChatters should read the articles and perhaps those individuals who are not necessarily in love with "naturalistic" habitats might change their mind. :)
     
  5. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Well note that these are two separate issues: "naturalistic exhibits," and "exhibits filled with enrichment items."
    An exhibit can be one but not the other, or neither, or both.
     
  6. Otter Lord

    Otter Lord Well-Known Member

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    I would be careful with the use of the term "functional." According to the paper, showing animals in naturalistic enclosures is more functional in terms of improving visitor perceptions. Though I have often heard of the term functional meaning it is easy for animal care to do their job. I find that it usually implies concrete and dirt floor exhibit, but naturalistic exhibits can still be functional for keepers.

    Ironically human health and emotional well-being is strongly correlated with spending time in more naturalistic settings. Time spent in forests effectively lower human heart-rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels. I would say that strongly adds to the case for immersive exhibits.

    Great to see more research in visitor perceptions based on exhibit types. It would be nice to see some one with a degree doctoral research (not me) look at exhibit vegetation and complexity in comparison with animal behavior and emotional well-being.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2015