Behavioural instability as an indicator of personality within captive populations of Rothschild Giraffes

Berthelsen Anne Katrine Leth, Kjeldgaard Bertram Brix, Møller-Lassesen Katrine, Ninna Larsen, Urup Patrick, Ellegård Jensen Stine, Jensen Trine Hammer, Pertoldi Cino, Alstrup Aage Kristian Olsen, Pagh Sussie


The novel concept of behavioural instability has proven suitable for  studying the behavior and personality in zoo animals. Individual personality  has an impact on how the zoo best perform environmental enrichment,  and behavioural diversity of captive populations intended to potentially  repopulate wild habitats. This study aims to prove the presence of recognizable  personalities in Rothschild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), as well as  to investigate whether visitor numbers affect the behavioural expressions  in this species. Six giraffes (bot young and adults) were filmed in Aalborg  Zoo, and the recordings were subsequently analysed. The procured data was then analysed using a series of tests primarily focusing on behavioural reaction  norms. The results shows that distinct personalities exist within the groups of  Rothschild giraffes. However, the number of visitors exhibited no statistical  significance upon the behaviour of the individuals. It can thereby be concluded that  specimens of Rothschild giraffes possess unique personality traits which are worth defining in order to ensure behavioural diversity.


Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, Ethogram, behavioural diversity, behavioural instability, captivity, zoo

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