Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #358
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis as an Animal-Care Tool in Zoos and Aquariums
Monday, May 31, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: AAB; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Erica N. Feuerbacher (Virginia Tech)
CE Instructor: Christy Alligood, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: CHRISTY ALLIGOOD (University of Florida; Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

In recent years, behavior has been recognized as an essential piece in the constellation of components critical to the care of animals housed in zoos and aquariums. The science of learning has many applications in these settings, and behavior analysts have contributed to the advancement of evidence-based practices particularly in the areas of husbandry training, environmental enrichment, and animal welfare. In this presentation, I will describe some examples of the role of behavior in multiple aspects of animal care. Along the way, I will highlight some key questions for the application of behavior analysis in zoological settings, some examples of work that addresses these questions, and some areas in need of further development.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

This presentation is appropriate for behavior analysts interested in the application of behavior principles to behavior management across settings, and particularly in zoos and aquariums.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe at least three components of animal care at zoos and aquariums, and explain how behavior interacts with each; (2) identify at least two key questions for the application of behavior analysis in zoological settings; (3) identify at least two important areas for future development in the application of behavior analysis to animal care in zoos and aquariums.
CHRISTY ALLIGOOD (University of Florida; Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

Dr. Christy Alligood received an M.A. (2003) from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Ph.D. (2007) from West Virginia University. She is also a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Alligood is a Lecturer at the University of Florida, where she teaches undergraduate courses in behavior analysis. In addition, since 2007 she has worked at Disney's Animal Kingdom® in Orlando, Florida. Much of her initial work focused on a multi-faceted conservation program for Key Largo woodrats, which received a Bean Award for Significant Achievement in Captive Breeding from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2009) and a Federal Challenge Grant (2010) in collaboration with the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge for population monitoring work on Key Largo. Dr. Alligood now works with the Science Operations Team, where she focuses on using the science of behavior to enhance animal care. She is the secretary of the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis and has recently served as At-Large Representative to the ABAI Executive Council, Coordinator of the ABAI Special Interest Groups Board, and co-coordinator of the ABAI Applied Animal Behavior Program Area.




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