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When Night Becomes Day: The Hidden Cost of Captivity

Learn the untold story of how artificial environments in zoos disrupt the natural circadian rhythms of animals, leading to behavioral and physiological changes akin to human jet lag.

animal circadian rhythms


  • The entire animal kingdom, from birds and reptiles to fish and insects, have circadian rhythms that regulate physical, mental and behavioral processes
  • In captivity, little is known about how circadian rhythms change and whether it affects animal welfare
  • A study involving captive giant pandas revealed the animals could experience “jet lag” if they’re living out of sync with their internal clock
  • Where pandas live (their latitude) affects how much they move around; pandas living outside their usual climate zones are less active
  • Zoos have a responsibility to provide as close to a natural habitat as possible, including offering animals appropriate choices and promoting circadian synchronicity

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