Fish Introduction to Jaguars (Panthera onca): Response of Zoo Visitors and Jaguars
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In this study, zoo visitor response to live prey feeding and jaguar response to dead fish feeding were analyzed. Four hundred visitors at Zoo Atlanta and four hundred visitors at Palm Beach Zoo were asked about their attitudes toward feeding live prey to zoo carnivores. Agreement rates were found to be high. Agreement rates at Zoo Atlanta and Palm Beach Zoo were both significantly higher for feeding live fish to penguins than at Edinburgh Zoo as reported in Ings et al. (1997). Zoo Atlanta also had a higher agreement rate for feeding live rabbits to cheetahs in view than Edinburgh Zoo. Both Zoo Atlanta and Palm Beach Zoo had lower agreement rates for feeding live insects to lizards out of view than Edinburgh Zoo. Agreement rates for visitors at Palm Beach Zoo that saw a dead fish to jaguar introduction did not differ significantly from visitors that had not seen the introduction. However, at both US Zoos, agreement rate was higher for visitors that had seen a live prey introduction at a zoo or aquarium in the past. Agreement rate was significantly greater for feeding live fish to jaguars, mice to hawks, and rabbits to cheetahs in view. For Palm Beach Zoo agreement rate was also higher for feeding live rabbits to cheetahs out of view. Stay time did not differ significantly between visitors at Palm Beach Zoo that saw and did not see a dead fish to jaguar introduction. Jaguar activity level, behavioral diversity, fecal corticoids, visibility, and percent time spent in water did not significantly differ between fish introduction and baseline.