The influence of zoo visitor numbers on the behaviour of harbour seals (<i>Phoca vitulina</i>)
We investigated the influence of zoo visitor numbers on the behaviour of a group of eight harbour seals at Antwerp Zoo. The behaviour of the seals was monitored using instantaneous scan sampling. Visitor presence at the enclosure was also monitored instantaneously. Additionally, daily visitor numbers for the zoo were gathered. We related seal behaviour to both the number of visitors present during the instantaneous sampling and to the daily visitor attendance. Both analyses showed that under increasing visitor numbers, more seals submerged under water. While behavioural changes are clear and it appears the seals were hiding from increasing visitor numbers by diving under water, it remains hard to assess whether visitors compromise the welfare of seals in captivity
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).