How can you know if a snake is having a happy life? How do wolves or sheep communicate their needs? How can you know if a penguin is too hot?
In this PBS Terra video, animal welfare scientist Dr. Bonnie Baird explains how she combines physiological measurements with careful observations to figure out if the animals at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo are feeling stressed, tired, or excited. Then she figures out what might be causing those feelings.
From When Zoo Animals Speak, This Scientist Listens:
“Since our animals can’t tell us if they’re having a good life or not, we have to look at all these other measures, and use that data together to understand what’s really going on inside the animals.
Finding the patterns that you can only find when you spend a lot of time objectively looking… Converting behaviors, and health, and all of this stuff that we kind of produce without even realizing that, and the things that we do, and the things that we kinda feel, and our body produces, and to turn that into a currency like a language, like numbers, and data… math is like the universal language, right?
That’s a good way to translate another species into something that humans can understand.
Visit more zoos with these videos:
• Tiny Goat Visits! A porcupine, elephants, and Chupacabra
• Matilda the echidna’s allergy to ants
• Reptile Rejuvenation – Wild Inside the National Zoo
• Orangutans use iPads to order lunch and more
• Flamingos swim with stingrays in their hydrotherapy session
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