Date of Completion

Spring 5-2-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

Chris Elphick

Honors Major

Biological Sciences




I investigated the effects of visitors on the behavior of two zebra species (Equus grevyi and Equus burchelli) at eight zoos on the East Coast of the United States. I used instantaneous time sampling to record zebra behavior and visitor data. I used these data to run Bayesian hierarchical models and determined that visitors do not negatively affect zebra behavior. This is a positive finding for zoos, since it means that zebras, a highly skittish prey animal, are not disturbed in their exhibits. My data suggest there are behavioral differences between the zebra herds at different zoos, which may be caused by different exhibit designs, as well as different husbandry techniques.

Included in

Biology Commons