Comparison of behaviour and reactions of the visitors at the selected exhibits of animals in European zoological gardens. (#672)
The goal of the studies was to compare behaviour and reactions of the visitors at three types of exhibits in the zoological gardens in Poland (Warsaw, Poznan), the Czech Republic (Prague), Germany (Berlin, Hannover, Hamburg, Wuppertal), Denmark (Copenhagen), the Netherlands (Emmen, Arnhem) in France (Lyon, Thoiry). The studies were performed at various types of exhibits which included the old traditional type (in cages or with poor equipment and facilities), small newly built exhibits (a one-species exhibit) and big newly built exhibits (where big animals or various species forming a large component of the ecosystem were exhibited). Each exhibit was submitted to at least 100 observations performed with a categorical technique and a duration of stay visitors was measured. Twenty five types of behaviour and reactions were identified. They were recorded in ordinal scale 0-1 and the obtained amount of points allowed to specify the most common types of behaviour and reactions. Correlation among some behaviours and reactions, arrangement of exhibitions as well as a time of observation of displays was noted e.g. the frequency of behavioural category “watching surroundings” showed highly significant differences between various exhibits (Chi-squared Test: P < 0.00001). Visitors preferred observing animals in their natural environment, although rarely, to close contact in laboratory’s environment. Visitors staying much longer at modern exhibits behaved with greater respect and admiration toward animals. As it was noticed the arrangement and the service had a great significance for a rise of an attractiveness level as well as educational value of an exhibit.