Research projects & publications
Research is one of the primary objectives of Dartmoor Zoological Society.
As a charity, we aim to continually increase our research potential and output in view of the growing need to increase our knowledge necessary for understanding and undertaking conservation tasks both in the zoo and out in the field. Our main research goals are focused on improving animal welfare, better understanding in animal cognition and the development of effective educational resources.
Our most recent and ongoing research projects include:
- The effect of environmental enrichment on Brazillian tapir (Tapirus terrestris) behaviour
- The effect of auditory enrichment on short clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea) behaviour
- The effect of an enclosure move and addition of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) on the behaviour of two blue and gold (Ara ararauna) macaws
- Enclosure usage of two dik dik (Madoqua kirkii) and determining whether this is different at day or at night
- The effect of an enclosure move on a male iguana (Iguana iguana)
- Assessing the individual response to different keepers and the impact of recall training on the daily behaviour of two Iberian wolves (Canis lupus signatus)
- A study on the vocalisations of our Asian short clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea)
- Investigating whether an unpredictable feeding time affects the behaviour of Asian short clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea)
- Investigating nocturnal behaviour in a range of different species
The Dartmoor Zoo research and animal departments produce a priority project list each year which is then taken on by our placement research students.
Successfully completed studies are submitted for publication within peer-reviewed journals, such as:
Jonas, C; Bowkett, A & Smith, R (2017) Promoting natural feeding behaviours in primates in captivity. Management of Captive Animals, Global evidence for the effects of interventions. https://www.conservationevidence.com/synopsis/index
De Lange, R (2017) Building a Burrow for burrowing owls, A. cunicularia. RATEL, Journal of the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers. Vol. 44 No. 4
McAvoy, G; Jonas, C (2019) Enclosure use in captive Iberian Wolves (Canis lupus signatus): Analysis of spatial use and the associated behaviours between Iberian Wolves at Dartmoor Zoo. RATEL, Journal of the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers.
Jonas, C (2019) Review: From Tug of War to Tug of Words. RATEL, Journal of the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers.
Crichton. S; Walker, M (2020) Biodiversity Assessment using Pit Fall Traps. RATEL, Journal of the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers.
Trefla-Stewart, E and Cox, L. (2023). Battle of the enrichments: comparing the impact of nutritional and sensory enrichment on the behaviour of captive lowland tapirs (Tapirus terrestris). Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research. 11(3), pages 336-344. https://www.jzar.org/jzar/article/view/729