Science, Play and a Look Back

While Lincoln Park Zoo is a wild playground for visitors (including the thousands of members who came out to play during our recent SuperZooPicnic), we are also a world leader in the field of scientific animal studies.
This month, our Director of the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., co-published a study in the Journal of General and Comparative Endocrinology. The scientists’ work focused on the relationship between animal enrichment and animal stress.
This six-month study revealed that noisemaking enrichment items such as bell-balls reduced stress in juvenile male ferrets while increasing stress in adult female ferrets. (Mothers of toddlers who like to bang on pot and pans shouldn’t find these results shocking.)
This study will guide animal-husbandry decisions for ferrets and could prompt scientific study into the effects of enrichment on others species. The point of publishing your work, after all, is to share hard-won knowledge and to improve the lives of zoo animals.
This is just one of many studies being performed here in Chicago, behind the scenes at Lincoln Park Zoo, where families come to play and scientists come to work.
On another note, I’d like to thank those who attended our recent Annual Meeting, where we premiered a video that highlights the last 12 months at Lincoln Park Zoo. View it here:
The next 12 months should be equally exciting. As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Kevin Bell


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