The idea of humans having individual personalities is something that we are all aware of and experience in our daily lives.
These behavioural characteristics, that stay consistent over time, influence how we deal with our environment, including changes in situation and how we socialise with people around us.
Historically, the idea that personality existed in non-human animals was disputed, however for anyone that spends time with animals (whether that be with pets, animals in the zoo or those we see regularly in the wild) examples of individual differences exist within these species too.
It is only relatively recently that the study of animal personality has gained support and attention within the scientific community, and with this increase in focus we are learning more about individual differences and how this knowledge can potentially benefit conservation efforts.
Scientists across ZSL have studied animal personality in a variety of settings, both for the management of free-living and reintroduced species, as well as those animals housed in zoos globally – all with the aim of understanding how we can use personality as a conservation tool.
Through a series of case studies, this event showcases how animal personality as a field of behaviour study can help us work for wildlife.
Dr Alecia Carter, Department of Anthropology, UCL: “A Very Brief Introduction to Animal Personality Research”
- Dr Félicie Dhellemmes, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Germany & Bimini Biological Field Station, Bahamas: “Captive personality and wild behaviour in sharks: how can personality inform conservation?”
- Dr Victoria Franks, University of Chester: “How can considering individual differences inform reintroductions?”
- Lewis Rowden, Wildlife Health Services, Zoological Society of London: “Application of personality assessment to ex-situ conservation and management”
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