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Introducing ‘LemurLounge’: A New Chapter in Enrichment at Blair Drummond Safari Park

9 April 2024

At Blair Drummond Safari Park, we’re dedicated to providing the highest level of care for all our animal residents. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce our latest endeavour in partnership with researchers from the University of Glasgow: the LemurLounge project.

What is the LemurLounge, you ask? Well, imagine a cosy wooden box equipped with infrared sensors that plays an array of sounds when lemurs enter. From the gentle rustle of leaves in a rainforest to the bustling sounds of a cityscape, the LemurLounge offered our lemurs an immersive auditory experience like never before.

But this project isn’t just about providing entertainment for our furry friends. It’s about enriching their lives in meaningful ways. Led by Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas from the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science, the LemurLounge project aimed to explore whether lemurs would engage with sounds of their choosing and how this interaction could positively impact their well-being.

Over the course of the trial period, our lemurs were given the freedom to visit the LemurLounge at their leisure. What we discovered was truly fascinating: our lemurs showed a clear preference for sound over silence, with many opting to spend time in the lounge when sounds were playing.

What’s even more intriguing is the diversity of preferences observed among our lemurs. From species-specific tendencies to individual quirks, each lemur showcased unique interactions with the LemurLounge, highlighting the importance of personalised enrichment in zoo environments.

This collaboration underscores our commitment to advancing animal welfare through innovative research and technology. By partnering with experts from the University of Glasgow, we’re not only gaining valuable insights into animal behaviour but also pioneering new ways to enhance the lives of our animals.

As we continue to explore the potential of interactive enrichment systems, we’re excited to share these findings with the wider community. This research will be presented by Dr Hirskyj-Douglas at the upcoming Association of Computing Machinery’s CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, where she hopes to inspire others to join us in reimagining zoo enrichment.

At Blair Drummond Safari Park, we believe that every animal deserves to live a fulfilling and enriched life. With projects like the LemurLounge, we’re taking significant strides towards achieving that goal.

Click here to read the fascinating paper on the LemurLounge.

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