Food for Thought: Assessing Visitor Comfort and Attitudes toward Carcass Feeding at the ABQ BioPark Zoo
Roth, Ellen Kathryn
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Enrichment is a cornerstone for keeping animals in zoos healthy and happy. For carnivores, the practice of feeding vertebrate animal carcasses, like those of goats or deer, or whole body prey animals like chickens or rabbits, can be an effective form of enrichment. While it is beneficial for animal care, carcass feeding can also be off-putting to some visitors, and zoos have hesitated to instate viewable carcass feeding programs. This research aims to address this concern and describe actual attitudes and comfort levels of visitors who view carcass feeding in three exhibits at the ABQ BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque, NM: spotted hyena, Tasmanian devil, and African painted dog. Results indicate that visitors stay at exhibits longer when a carcass is introduced and report feeling generally comfortable and at ease while viewing a carcass feeding. Findings also show that visitors exhibit positive attitudes toward animal care and welfare while viewing feedings.
- Museology