Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Christopher E. Hill
The staff of the Cincinnati Zoo had been experiencing difficulty moving their collection of Australian penguins (Eudyptula minor) from the exhibit into a holding room. The keepers were using physical techniques such as netting and corralling penguins to move them off of the exhibit. After researching several methods, a procedure was developed using sound + food conditioning as an impetus to move the penguins. Sound clips of three of their natural predators, red foxes, wild dogs, and herring gulls, were played as the door to the holding room was held open. The penguins were also rewarded with fish as they entered the room. The number of penguins and the time was recorded for both the physical techniques and sound + food conditioning. Using the ANOVA statistical test, the results for sound + food conditioning were significantly more effective than the physical techniques (p-value=8.97x10-12). The data was further broken down based on gender, showing that females were more responsive than the males of the group. Also, younger members of the group were shown to respond positively to the experiment more often than the older penguins. While some changes to the procedure, such as eliminating the fish rewards, may have added some validity to the results as to whether or not it was the sounds that made the penguins move, the experiment was successful. The procedure developed is currently being used by the staff of the Birdhouse, and has proven to be a positive influence on the penguins.
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Teague, Eric William, "Sound and Food Conditioning in Australian Penguins (Eudyptula minor)" (2003). Honors Theses. 304.