Nanna Paskesen

Zoochosis: A Short Documentary

Ensuring a good welfare for animals housed in zoos, is not an easy job. It might not even be something we will ever really get a perfect grip on. Animal species have evolved over many years and their physical, physiological, social and behavioral traits have been developed in order for them to survive as best as they can in their natural environment. In captivity, animals may face a number of challenges which evolution has not prepared them for and disables the animal to fulfill their behavioral needs. The absence of these, climate, diet, the size and characteristics of their enclosure or the fact that they have to rely on humans for their every need can cause an animal to feel stressed in which it starts to perform a stereotypic behavior. Repetitive, abnormal behavior is often regarded as an indicator of poor welfare and is studied as a coping mechanism, and measures of stress which can potentially go on to cause brain dysfunction. I believe that the display of abnormal behavior patterns are not recognized enough by the public eye. That is why I have decided to make this documentary to educate you about what lies behind these stereotypic behaviors which we can easily identify, but might not have given a further thought about, or brought a negative judgment upon when visiting the zoo. The study of stereotypic behavior is complicated with many important factors that determine the health of a captive animal. ‘Zoochosis’ will bring you the whole picture of how animals experience living in a stressful an unnatural environment, and how it effects their mental and natural life.