Zoo Concerts and Fireworks, How do they affect the animals?

I received a hand written note in my letter box yesterday – letting me know that a neighbor would be having a party, that there would be loud music, and apologising for the inconvenience. Getting away from the fact that my Friday night will now include listening to someone else’s taste in loud music, the note did prompt me to ask the question, do animals at zoos get affected by loud music or fireworks displays? Especially when more and more zoos are holding zoo concerts and special events on zoo grounds to generate much needed funds. 

Sydney fireworks display viewed  from Taronga Zoo

There are studies on the calming effect that music has on some animals including a study on the effects of classical music on elephants by Dr Deborah Wells at Queen’s University in Belfast.  However, there is a big difference between classical music and a loud bass doof-doof-doofing or loud firework explosions for that matter. 

My research on this subject has found that a lot of zoos are now using low noise, low Impact fireworks and locking animals in their night time enclosures during events that include fireworks or loud music to lessen the impact.  However most animals are very sensitive to vibrations as my dogs are both testament to, based on their noisy reaction to fireworks, even when they are a fair distance away. So I have to ask the question.  Are these measures taken by zoos enough? 

Many zoos will give examples of animals especially primates who seem to enjoy all the noise – especially if they can see what is happening however I have noted that Walt Disney Corporation, who are undoubtedly fireworks crazy, don’t have any fireworks at their Florida Animal Kingdom Park, the only Disney park in the world not to…  

The real question is – are the animal’s welfare always put first?

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