Using Qualitative Behaviour Assessment to investigate human-animal relationships in zoo-housed giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Freisha Patel, F Wemelsfelder*, Samantha Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Human-Animal Relationships (HAR) in zoos develop from repeated interactions between animals and their caretakers. HAR have been shown to aect health and welfare in farm animals, but limited zoo-based studies exist. This study investigates the association between the qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA) of emotional expression in giraes and keeper action score in four types of keeper-animal interaction (KAI). Three giraes generating 38 clips. QBA, using a free-choice profiling methodology, was applied instructing 18 observers to assess girae expressions shown in these clips. QBA scores were analysed using Generalized Procrustes Analysis. Keeper actions during each KAI event were rated by an independent marker, resulting in cumulative scores for keeper action quality. The association between QBA and the keeper action was analyzed using
Spearman’s rank correlations. Two main QBA dimensions were identified explaining 59% of the variation between clips. There were significant eects of girae and KAI type on QBA dimension 2 (inquisitive/impatient—calm/distracted), and significant positive associations between keeper action quality rating and QBA dimensions 1 and 2, indicating that positive keeper actions resulted in calm and confident giraes with a willingness to interact. This is the first successful application of QBA for
empirically addressing HARs in zoos, however given the small sample size of giraes in this study, it can be regarded as a pilot study only, and further research is needed to validate the use of QBA in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number381
JournalAnimals
Volume9
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 21 Jun 2019

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Giraffa camelopardalis
human-animal relations
zoos
Surgical Instruments
animals
farmed animal species
Domestic Animals
Sample Size
Health
Research
sampling

Keywords

  • Animal welfare
  • Human-animal interaction
  • HAR
  • Keeper-animal interactions
  • QBA
  • Free Choice Profiling

Cite this

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title = "Using Qualitative Behaviour Assessment to investigate human-animal relationships in zoo-housed giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)",
abstract = "Human-Animal Relationships (HAR) in zoos develop from repeated interactions between animals and their caretakers. HAR have been shown to aect health and welfare in farm animals, but limited zoo-based studies exist. This study investigates the association between the qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA) of emotional expression in giraes and keeper action score in four types of keeper-animal interaction (KAI). Three giraes generating 38 clips. QBA, using a free-choice profiling methodology, was applied instructing 18 observers to assess girae expressions shown in these clips. QBA scores were analysed using Generalized Procrustes Analysis. Keeper actions during each KAI event were rated by an independent marker, resulting in cumulative scores for keeper action quality. The association between QBA and the keeper action was analyzed usingSpearman’s rank correlations. Two main QBA dimensions were identified explaining 59{\%} of the variation between clips. There were significant eects of girae and KAI type on QBA dimension 2 (inquisitive/impatient—calm/distracted), and significant positive associations between keeper action quality rating and QBA dimensions 1 and 2, indicating that positive keeper actions resulted in calm and confident giraes with a willingness to interact. This is the first successful application of QBA forempirically addressing HARs in zoos, however given the small sample size of giraes in this study, it can be regarded as a pilot study only, and further research is needed to validate the use of QBA in this context.",
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Using Qualitative Behaviour Assessment to investigate human-animal relationships in zoo-housed giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). / Patel, Freisha; Wemelsfelder, F; Ward, Samantha.

In: Animals, Vol. 9, No. 6, 381, 21.06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Ward, Samantha

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