Fanning, L., Larsen, H., Taylor, P. S. 2020. A preliminary study investigating the impact of musical concerts on the behavior of captive Fiordland penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) and collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu). Animals 10(11), 2035.
Captive animal welfare is important for establishments that exhibit species for education, conservation, and research. However, captive animals are often exposed to a number of potential stressors, such as visitors and anthropogenic noise. We aimed to identify the impact of a concert series on the behaviour of Fiordland penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus; n = 2), and solitary- (n = 1) or group- (n = 4)-housed collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu). Animal behaviour, visitor density, and visitor behaviour was monitored pre-concert (afternoons; 16:00–19:00), during the concert (evenings; 19:00–21:00), and post-concert (nights; 21:00–00:00) on concert days (penguin n = 7 days; peccary n = 8 days) and in the same periods on days when there was no concert (penguin n = 8 days; peccary n = 6 days). Fiordland penguins spent more time surface swimming and diving in the pool on concert afternoons and evenings (all p < 0.001), more time in the nest on concert nights (p < 0.001), preened less on concert afternoons and nights (p = 0.019), and engaged with their habitat less on concert evenings and nights (p = 0.002) compared to these periods on days without a concert. The group-housed peccaries slept more in the afternoon and evening (p ≤ 0.01) and were more vigilant at night (p = 0.009) on concert days compared to no-concert days. The solitary-housed peccary slept more on concert nights (p = 0.035), rested more frequently across all time periods on concert days (p < 0.001), and used the front of the enclosure more across all concert time periods (p < 0.001) compared to no-concert days. We provide evidence that behaviour was altered on event days; however, we cannot determine the nature of these changes. Further research is needed to understand the impact of music concerts on zoo animal welfare.