Special Issue "Human Influences on the Behaviour and Welfare of Zoo Animals"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Paul Hemsworth

Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Animal welfare; animal behaviour; farm and companion animals; human-animal interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the 1980s there has been an ever-increasing body of evidence accumulating on the profound effects of human-animal interactions on the behaviour and stress physiology of animals in captivity, particularly farm animals. This extensive research in the livestock industries indicates that the history of human interactions with their farm animals leads to a stimulus-specific response in farm animals to humans. In addition to the animal’s experiences, characteristics of the animal, such as age, social environment and genetics, also affect their response to humans. Importantly, the animal’s perception of humans has implications for its welfare, as emotions in animals are generated by human interactions.

Surprisingly, less research has been conducted on the human-animal relationship in other animal use settings in which there is substantial human contact, such as zoos. There is developing literature on the effects of human interactions on zoo animals. The most robust evidence is that contact with visitors in the visitor viewing area may be perceived as negative, neutral or even positive, depending on the species, the visitor behaviour and characteristics of the animal enclosure that may affect how the animal perceives human visitors. There is limited evidence that the keeper-zoo animal relationship may be related to the behaviour, welfare and reproductive success of some zoo species, clearly with more research needed in this area. An emerging and contentious aspect of modern visitor-zoo animal interactions is the offering of what can be referred to as ‘close encounters’, these typically involve an additional paid experience where visitors can feed or touch animals under the supervisior of zoo officials. But the impact of these enocunters on both animal welfare and visitor experience has received little research attention to date.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present recent research and reviews on the implications of human-zoo animal interactions on zoo animal behaviour and welfare, with the aim of stimulating interest, understanding and exploration of this important subject.

Prof. Paul Hemsworth
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • human-animal interactions
  • zoo animals
  • zoo keepers
  • zoo visitors
  • behaviour
  • welfare

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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