Zoo Uses Pop Music To Fight Fireworks Noise

To soothe giraffes spooked by the noise from fireworks set off to celebrate the New Year, Amersfoort Animal Park in Utrecht in the Netherlands plans to have them tune into public Radio 2 to hear the Top 2000 countdown. As the park’s spokeswoman Josien van Eijik told Agence France-Presse (via Raw Story), “We found that pop music works best to calm the animals down and the bangs become more background noise.”

There are five giraffes among the 130 animals in the park and only the giraffes seem to be affected by the noise. The staff have started to play the music prior to today so the giraffes can get used to it. While noting that they have so far shown no particular preferences for music, Van Eijk speculated that “‘a calm ballad every now and then also would not do any harm.’”

Agence France-Presse says there are so many fireworks in the Netherlands to celebrate New Year’s that it’s a “pyrotechnics frenzy that turns some city streets into virtual battlefields” and that some owners medicate their pets to calm them. New Year’s Eve fireworks are nowhere that intense in our suburban New Jersey town; Fourth of July is when things can get very noisy with fireworks going off in celebrations all over, not to mention not so far away in New York City.

Fireworks are definitely an issue for my son Charlie who — like many on the autism spectrum – has unusual responses to sensory stimuli and especially to noises that are loud and high-pitched, noticeably more so now as a teenager. He has hypersensitive hearing and plants his hands firmly over his ears on hearing an airplane go by far overhead and when we walk into a store and he hears the buzz of overhead lights. After much trial and error with different sorts of headphones, we have learned that Charlie doesn’t care to wear them — that he wants not so much to block out sounds, as to filter them; he seems to use sound and music to do this. Charlie likes to listen to music on his iPad and anyone in the vicinity (mostly my husband and me as Charlie only uses the iPad at home) hears what he’s hearing. Sometimes he puts an album on a repeating loop. When he does so, the choices tend to be pop-ish (we’ve heard a few too many rotations of the instrumentals from Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys in the past week).

Playing the music for the giraffes in  Amersfoort Animal Park sounds (apologies for an unintended pun) like a good solution to soften the boom of the fireworks. But, thinking of the animals whose owners are said to be drugging them to calm them amid all the noise, one wonders if the fireworks have gotten out of hand and it’s high time to think of a quieter, less agitating way to celebrate the New Year. The giraffes and other animals at Amersfoort Animal Park are (literally) a captive audience to the fireworks: Noise pollution is invisible, but its effects are very real.

Related Care2 Coverage

Dolphin Dies After Deafening Rave at Park

Giraffe On “The Zookeeper” Set Dies; Whistleblower Alleges Neglect

How Aware Are We About Autism?: Robert MacNeil’s PBS Autism Series



Photo by omninate


William C
William Cabout a month ago


W. C
W. Cabout a month ago

Thank you for caring.

Johnso R.
Past Member about a year ago

Your articles are very well written and unique. improve vocal range,

Linda J.
Linda J6 years ago

Why the bloody hell do fireworks have to be so noisey. I absolutely hate fireworks because of the distress it causes to most animals. Why do celebrations have to involve noise? This world is full of it! Sorry but I beleive you can celebrate without having noisey fireworks which seem to get louder and louder each year. Also fireworks can be quite distressing to the elderly who live on their own!

Waltraud U.
Waltraud U6 years ago

Good idea, thanks. It COULD be also done, that ban this stupid noise in the arrounding area.

Better than nothing for all the poors in captivity.

Sandi C.
Sandi C6 years ago

If It works go for it!

Lyn B.
Lyn B6 years ago

Every dog I have had has had issues with fireworks and gunfire (boo hunting seasons). I use valerian root tincture to calm them. I would truly love for music to work for my babies. Amused but glad that they found pop music to soothe the giraffes.

Richard S.
Martin S6 years ago

Great use of creative approaches to help these animals.

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago

So wonderful that these folks are so caring .. thanks!

Kristina C.
Kristina C6 years ago

I am glad for the initiative. Thank you.