Observing Animals: Behavioral Studies in Zoos

Offered in cooperation with the Los Angeles Zoo and the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA)

Photo credit: Jamie Pham/Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

The successful study of animal behavior, whether in zoos or in the wild, requires organized functional methods of description and data collection, as well as dedication and patience, in order to yield meaningful and useful results.

This course provides an introduction to methods and techniques of studying the behavior of animals without experimental manipulation.

Topics include techniques of organizing and collecting numerical data; methods of producing accurate descriptions of behavior; recognizing various components, categories, and contexts of behavior; and minimizing artifacts and errors in such studies.

Instruction emphasizes practical firsthand application of such techniques to behavioral studies including evaluating different forms of enrichment and assessing well-being.  In addition to lectures and demonstrations, participants conduct a study project on selected species at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Credit students receive homework assignments in each of the first 4 weeks and subsequently engage in at least 15 hours of training and observational data collection at the zoo as well as associated activities such as data tabulation, data entry, and project reports.

Credit students who complete the course are welcome to become zoo research volunteers.

Photo credit: Jamie Pham/Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Fall 2018

Dates: Thursdays, 7:30pm – 10:00pm; September 20 through December 13, 2018 (no meeting Nov. 22)

Observational Training Session: Saturday, 8:00am-4:00pm; October 13,  2018

Location: Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Instructor: Cathleen Cox, PhD,
Director of Research at Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

To Enroll: Click here to go directly to the enrollment page. Please note, enrollment opens on Monday, July 30 for this course. The deadline to enroll is September 20th.

Save 10% when you register up until 30 days prior to course start date by entering the discount code EARLY.