Behavioural instability as an indicator of personality within captive populations of Rothschild Giraffes

Anne Katrine Leth Berthelsen, Bertram Brix Kjeldgaard, Katrine Møller-Lassesen, Ninna Larsen, Patrick Urup, Stine Ellegård Jensen, Trine Hammer Jensen, Cino Pertoldi, Aage Kristian Olsen Alstrup, Sussie Pagh

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The novel concept of behavioural instability has proven suitable for studying the behavior and personality in zoo animals. Individual personality has an impact on how the zoo best perform environmental enrichment, and behavioural diversity of captive populations intended to potentially repopulate wild habitats. This study aims to prove the presence of recognizable personalities in Rothschild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), as well as to investigate whether visitor numbers affect the behavioural expressions in this species. Six giraffes (bot young and adults) were filmed in Aalborg Zoo, and the recordings were subsequently analysed. The procured data was then analysed using a series of tests primarily focusing on behavioural reaction norms. The results shows that distinct personalities exist within the groups of Rothschild giraffes. However, the number of visitors exhibited no statistical significance upon the behaviour of the individuals. It can thereby be concluded that specimens of Rothschild giraffes possess unique personality traits which are worth defining in order to ensure behavioural diversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGenetics and Biodiversity Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)160-213
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi
  • Ethogram
  • behavioural diversity
  • behavioural instability
  • captivity
  • zoo


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