Department of Biology
Concordia University (Loyola Campus)
7141 Sherbrooke St. W. H4B 1R6
Montreal, QC, Canada
(514) 848-2424 (ext. 4021)
2017-Present: MSc. Biology at Concordia University, Montreal, QC
2013-2016: BSc. Ecology + Certificate in Field Ecology, at Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC
Impact of ultrasounds and visitors’ noise pollution on the behaviour and welfare of captive zoo animals
There can be many stressful factors for animals in the zoo environment, such as restricted place, handling procedures or the presence of visitors and other anthropogenic sounds. While most studies focused on the visitor effect, and generally found that the presence of visitors and their noise pollution negatively affected the captive animals’ behaviour, few have addressed other anthropogenic noises. In addition, other frequencies outside the human-hearing range are frequently overlooked, such as the ultrasounds. Numerous constant sources of high ultrasound levels can be found in zoos and various animals are sensitive to them, mostly mammals. It also has been stated that high sound levels can be stressful and even harmful for humans and animals. While visitor presence and noise still has to be considered, there is a need for more research to describe the acoustic nature of zoo environments, particularly with the ambient sounds above the range of normal human-hearing that are frequently overlooked. I will therefore study the impact of ultrasounds and visitors’ noise on the behaviour of captive species at the Granby Zoo.
This research will take place during summer 2018 at the Zoo de Granby, Granby QC. The Zoo de Granby currently houses many species that are sensitive to ultrasounds, such as bats, felines, primates, carnivores and other mammals. Activity budget observations will be noted, and ultrasonic sound pressure levels and visitors’ noise will be measured with different sound level meters. Data collection will be taken during daylight when visitors are present and the park fully functional, and during the night when visitors and most employees are absent, with engines working at a minimum level.
The main objective of this study is to analyze the effects of ultrasounds and visitors’ noise on the behaviour of captive species, and evaluate the implications for their welfare. .
This study has a broad objective of raising awareness of this issue to the zoo community in an attempt to promote captive animals’ welfare and therefore, improving the breeding success and conservation of endangered species. By developing our knowledge of the zoo’s complex acoustic environment and how these sounds might affect captive animals, zoo keepers will be able to develop effective strategies for mitigating such effects.