Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381



There is a strong disconnect between humans and other species in our societies. Zoos particularly expose this disconnect by displaying the asymmetry between visitors in search of entertainment, and animals often suffering from a lack of meaningful interactions and natural behaviors. In zoos, many species are unable to mate, raise young, or exhibit engagement behaviors. Enrichment is a way to enhance their quality of life, enabling them to express natural behaviors and reducing stereotypies. Prior work on sound-based enrichment and interactivity suggest that a better understanding of animals’ sensory needs and giving them options to shape their surroundings can yield substantial benefits. However, current zoo management and conservation practices lack tools and frameworks to leverage innovative technology to improve animal well-being and zookeepers’ ability to care for them. Ethical considerations are called for in developing such interventions as human understanding of animals’ worlds is still limited, and assumptions can have detrimental consequences. Based on several interventions, four principles are proposed to guide a more systematic implementation of sonic enrichment in zoos. The goal is to lay the groundwork for the design of the zoos of the future, with a focus on sounds, for the benefit of the animals.

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