Technology-Based Cognitive Enrichment for Animals in Zoos: A Case Study and Lessons Learned
- Benjamin Scheer, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
- Fidel Cano Renteria, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
- Maithilee Kunda, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
AbstractCognitive enrichment for captive animals is the idea that cognitive stimulation can improve animal welfare. In zoos, cognitive enrichment not only helps the animals themselves but also contributes to zoo missions of educating the public, supporting research, and more. Technology-based cognitive enrichment tools are increasingly popular for a variety of reasons, though they also present unique challenges for design and deployment. In this paper, we present a short review of technology-based cognitive enrichment programs in zoo settings, and then describe the design and development process we used to create a new, touchscreen-based enrichment app for a group of orangutans at Zoo Atlanta. We discuss initial observations about the orangutans' use of this app, as well as lessons learned by our research team.
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