Institutions / Smithsonian
SPECIES-SPECIFIC MUSIC PROJECT AT THE NATIONAL ZOO
Music is, in a very real sense, the essence of emotional communication in sound that connects people. We have the opportunity here to provide more than enrichment; we can begin to build genuine contact with other species based upon their own languages. The Smithsonian-based project embodies front-edge scientific discoveries while establishing a new connection to other animals who share our world.
Caretakers of animals in captivity are constantly searching for ways to provide environments for them that are interesting and varied. We have an obligation to seek ways to bring beneficial stimulation into the lives of captive animals. The application of this newly tested and proven source of sonic environmental enrichment is ideally suited for captives. Our species-specific music is now being used for enrichment at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
History: After a colleague of Dr. Snowdon recommended to him that species-specific music should be made available for the enrichment of the environments of the many captive colonies at institutions David Teie was invited by the curators for enrichment, primates, and small mammals at the Smithsonian to discuss the possibility of bringing species-specific music to the National Zoo. David proposed the creation of a center for the development of music for each mammalian species (only mammals possess the affected limbic/emotional structures). The research, analysis, composition, recording, and playback could be accomplished at a pace that would bring music to 2-3 new species every year.
Any benefits to the captive animals at the National Zoo will immediately be available in perpetuity to all captives of that species at all institutions.