With the number of zoos increasing worldwide, there are now growing opportunities for human–animal interactions (HAIs) in zoos. HAIs occur throughout the day, every day, with variations in their duration, quality and dyadic components (familiar or unfamiliar humans). Research has shown that HAIs can affect the development of positive, negative and neutral human–animal relationships (HARs), which in turn can have short- and long-term implications on the animals’ behaviour, physiology and welfare. For example, positive HAIs can lead to positive HARs between specific keeper–animal dyads, and in some cases can lead to positive association of visitors. This area of research is still in its infancy yet deemed to be one of the most influential aspects of zoo animal welfare science. This chapter highlights current trends in HAR research and areas for future developments for both familiar and unfamiliar humans and the animals that they encounter in various contexts.
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