Behavior Scientific Advisory Group

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Behavior Scientific Advisory Group

The mission of the Behavior Scientific Advisory Group (BAG) is to promote positive welfare and science-based approaches to animal training, enrichment, and behavior-based husbandry programs. The BAG serves the AZA community of accredited institutions by supplying tools to support and enhance institutional programs, providing technical advice to meet the husbandry, social, and behavioral needs of animals, and promoting behavioral strategies which can be applied to the conservation of species.
It is overseen by the Animal Welfare Committee.


The BAG is administered by a Steering Committee of four Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary & Treasurer) and 11 additional members, all of whom are elected from the general BAG membership, which is composed of representatives from AZA Accredited Institutions. The primary functions of the BAG are to:

  • Provide behavioral advice/input to the various AZA Animal Programs. 
  • Provide information and guidance to enhance behavioral monitoring and record keeping techniques.
  • Use behavior science-based approaches to create robust training programs, provide expertise in animal training, and provide assistance to training programs as requested.
  • Increase innovation in enrichment programming and move industry focus from item-driven to behavior-driven enrichment programs.
  • Increase understanding in the field of how to use the animal’s natural behaviors to guide husbandry programs and improve animal welfare.
  • Promote the increase of science-based behavior knowledge by developing research projects and providing tools to support and facilitate behavioral research in zoos.

Questions about the BAG? Please contact Erika Bauer, Chair.
Interested in being involved in animal behavior discussions? Join the Animal Behavior Open Forum.