Bay Hosts Public Lecture: “Lion Personality: an indicator of success?”

Image of Anna Viau Speaker
Bay College’s Math Science Division presents a special colloquia by Anna Viau titled Lion Personality: An Indicator of Success?  The free presentation will be at 4PM on Thursday, January 26 in room 125 of the Math Science Building.   The presentation can be seen live via iTV at 3PM central time in room 107 of Bay College’s West Campus in Iron Mountain. 

Anna, a former Bay student and supplemental instruction leader, is a recent graduate of the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, with her Master’s Degree in Wild Animal Biology. Her professional interests focus on large predators and their relationships with the environment. Born and raised in Delta County, Anna’s goals are to bring the knowledge and skills she gained overseas to the unique ecosystems of the Upper Peninsula.
During her degree Anna conducted research into the personalities and behavior of the Asiatic lions at London Zoo. Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) are a distinct subspecies of lion found only in Gujarat, India. Asiatic lions are an endangered species, with the official population count in 2015 numbering them at just over 500 individuals. With a population of this size, and only a limited number in zoos, captive animal research is essential for the continued persistence of this species.

Previous research has demonstrated that animal personality is measureable and can be assessed in various taxa, including mammals, fish, and insects. Originally, these studies focused on using animals as models for human personality. However, the progression of animal personality research has allowed for a novel approach to welfare concerns, conservation issues, and reintroduction success of many animal species.

Anna’s project involved assessing the responses of the lions to new physical and social environments, including the introduction of a new lion to the group and the construction of a new enclosure. This study provided an example of how personality research facilitates more individual-based management, which may help to maximize the welfare and overall success of captive collections. In her talk, Anna will discuss the design, results, and implications of her research, and provide a glimpse into life as a student in Europe.
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