Animal Behavior & Biology


At the North Carolina Zoo, we are committed to protecting wildlife and other natural resources. Through the Animal Biology and Behavior portion of our Living With Nature Live! events, our goal is to show middle and high school students the many ways that we work with animals at the zoo to preserve their natural habits and provide them with the best care possible. Our keepers partner with organizations like Wild Welfare that works to improve the welfare of animals in zoos around the world.

The post-event activities for this event are focused on collaborative practices with groups or classes.

Much like the Zoo aims to collaborate with others across our state and across the globe, we hope that through this event, we can encourage collaboration between students, schools, districts, counties and even countries.Activities offered for classrooms can be used by teachers as they apply to their class. Pre-activities and post-activities are meant to help support and enrich the learning that takes place during the Live Broadcast. All are optional but strongly encouraged in order to align with the standards provided. 

Date of Event: October 23, 2019

Designed For: Middle School and High Schools Students (see NC Standard Course of Study alignments below).


  • The student will be able to identify effects of environmental influences on animal behavior, health, and welfare.

  • The student will be able to summarize and report on the importance of animal enrichment for animals under human care.

  • The student will be able to summarize the importance of coexistence and cooperation between humans and animals.

  • The student will be able to identify potential careers in animal science and welfare.

  • The student will be able to write informative text using reliable resource information without plagiarizing.

To Register: Registration is now closed for this event.

Teacher Information

Our Animal Biology and Behavior portion of our Living with Nature series will be broadcast via Zoom on Wednesday, October 23rd at 10 am. It will last approximately 1 hour.

In order to set the foundation for the material we will cover when live, we encourage you to use the pre-event activities. This will help prime the learning pump for students. These activities are optional but will allow your students to begin considering the importance of animal biology and behavior as well as how the Zoo provides opportunities for the animals in captivity.

Please note: While there will be plenty of opportunity for interaction with our live event hosts, we ask that you work with your students before and after the event to keep the learning and exploration going!

Prior to Event

  • Read articles - Consider the influences humans have on animals in the wild and under human care. Take notes on what surprises you, concerns you, etc.




  • Consider ways in which the Zoo might need to step in to support animals due to human error/environmental issues. Make a list of these ideas and suggestions. Include article/source information for future reference.
  • Guesswork - These are the two specific animals we will discuss during the live event. Can you identify what you think the best answer is for each of the following based on your current knowledge of the animal?

    Gorilla and elephants  
  • Animal welfare is a term that means different things to different people. Research definitions of animal welfare from around the world. In your own words write what animal welfare is to you. Compare your definition to what we are doing at the Zoo during the event. 

During the Event 

Watch the live stream (or recording if necessary). Use the participation guides to keep students engaged, encourage questions, and offer reflection time.

After the Event

  • Choose an animal. Conduct research to determine answers to the "guesswork" questions in the pre-activity . Then, create a presentation to teach the class about your chosen animal.

  • Revisit your Guesswork activity that you did before the event - Research the answers using the information in the event and your own research. Now using your knowledge of animal behavior of gorillas, elephants, or even your own pet - design an enrichment item or activity that would encourage one of their natural behaviors, if possible design a prototype, and make a Shark Tank style pitch to your class. Here are some resources to help you get started.
  • Animal welfare - During the live event you learned several of the things we are doing for animal welfare here at the Zoo and around the world. Look further into the definition of welfare. As an accredited Zoo we use the Association of Zoos and Aquariums definition of welfare. Wild Welfare, mentioned in the program, has their own way of defining welfare.Using these two definitions would you change your definition? If yes, write a new animal welfare definition. Compare your definition to others in your class, or your friend's and neighbor's. Create a 2-minute "elevator pitch" of what animal welfare is using AZA's, Wild Welfare's and your definition and explain why it is important.

For questions or further information email