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Zoo Trip; a 'Tail' told by Jodie Shannon and Elouise Borthwick

On the 1st of March 2017 the Higher and Advanced Higher Biology Classes travelled to Edinburgh centre to receive a briefing on primate behaviour which correlates with the third unit of the Biology course. 

During this talk we were given crucial instructions as to how to carry out an ethogram. An ethogram is a study carried out by scientists to observe and record data based on animal behaviour. This can be used to ensure that the welfare of the animal is being maintained at the required level. After this we were given a brief tour of the primate enclosures where the ranger told us about the adaptations and

behaviours that these primates adopt to   increase their chances of survival. For example, living in groups decreased the risk of predation as they are able to protect one another and communicate when a threat is exposed. 

Then, in groups, an ethogram was carried out on the different primates that we were introduced to in order to analyse their behaviour in response to different stimuli such as feeding. From these ethograms, the groups managed to gather incredible results including a possible pregnancy within the Gibbon family! 

We were then given the opportunity to explore the zoo and see the hard work that keepers contribute to ensure that all animals are comfortable and living as naturally as possible. 

The highlights of the trip, for many students, were visiting the pandas and the walk through the wallaby enclosure. The primates also offered an interesting insight into the likeliness of ape behaviour to that adopted by humans. This experience was beneficial for the entire group as it allowed for our knowledge from the course to be placed in a practical environment so that we could see the behaviours in action.