Congratulations to Becky Lewis and co-authors on their research paper
“The effect of visitors on the behavior of zoo-housed western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)”
being in the top 20 most downloaded papers in the journal Zoo Biology in the year following publication in 2020.
Becky conducted her study on gorillas as part of her MSC in Wild Animal Biology at RVC for which she received Distinction. Supervised by Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe of the RVC Animal Welfare Science and Ethics team, Becky examined how visitors affected the behaviour of a troop of gorillas at London Zoo. She found when crowds were large, gorillas altered activity levels, used the enclosure less and showed some anxiety-related behaviours. As a result of her study the zoo implemented changes to address the potential issues. Becky also highlighted some pitfalls with commonly used measures to estimate visitor density in research and made recommendations for other researchers. Since her masters Becky has obtained a PhD in the evolution of bird song during ex situ management and its implications for conservation programmes. We wish her all the very best in her future career.