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Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Number of Followers: 0  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2673-5636
Published by MDPI Homepage  [234 journals]
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 316-334: DNA Damage as a Potential Non-Invasive
           Indicator of Welfare: A Preliminary Study in Zoo-Housed Grizzly Bears
           (Ursus arctos horribilis)

    • Authors: Grace Fuller, Jennifer Hamilton, Stephanie Allard
      First page: 316
      Abstract: Measures of oxidative stress have potential for integrating positive and negative life experiences into comprehensive cellular indicators of animal welfare. We explored this possibility when three adult grizzly bear brothers at the Detroit Zoo were temporarily moved to a smaller habitat while their primary home was expanded. We expected that the spatial compression and construction activity might be sources of stress. We observed increased social play and other affiliative behavior in the smaller habitat, and we used daily fecal samples (17 to 24 per bear) to examine whether concentrations of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) and 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG, a by-product of DNA damage) were correlated with social behavior. Our overall aim was to explore 8-OHdG as a potential indicator of welfare based on the prediction that 8-OHdG would be lower when more positive social interactions occurred. Concentrations of fecal 8-OHdG increased significantly with higher FGM concentrations, supporting a potential relationship between adrenal activity and rates of DNA damage. However, we found that on days when they engaged in higher rates of affiliative interactions, there were trends for 8-OHdG concentrations to increase for one bear and decrease for another, and no relationship for the third bear. These preliminary results should be interpreted with caution, but suggest a potential relationship between social behavior and 8-OHdG that is modulated by health, personality, or other individual factors. Further validation research is needed, but 8-OHdG may have promise as a non-invasive, cumulative indicator of animal welfare.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-06-25
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2030022
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 3 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 335-348: Investigation of Environmentally Dependent
           Movement of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

    • Authors: Zining Zhang, Ding Zhang, Joaquin Gabaldon, Kari Goodbar, Nicole West, Kira Barton, Kenneth Alex Shorter
      First page: 335
      Abstract: How environmental features (e.g., people, enrichment, or other animals) affect movement is an important element for the study of animal behavior, biomechanics, and welfare. Here we present a stationary overhead camera-based persistent monitoring framework for the investigation of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) response to environmental stimuli. Mask R-CNN, a convolutional neural network architecture, was trained to automatically detect 3 object types in the environment: dolphins, people, and enrichment floats that were introduced to stimulate and engage the animals. Detected objects within each video frame were linked together to create track segments across frames. The animals’ tracks were used to parameterize their response to the presence of environmental stimuli. We collected and analyzed data from 24 sessions from bottlenose dolphins in a managed lagoon environment. The seasons had an average duration of 1 h and around half of them had enrichment (42%) while the rest (58%) did not. People were visible in the environment for 18.8% of the total time (∼4.5 h), more often when enrichment was present (∼3 h) than without (∼1.5 h). When neither enrichment nor people were present, the animals swam at an average speed of 1.2 m/s. When enrichment was added to the lagoon, average swimming speed decreased to 1.0 m/s and the animals spent more time moving at slow speeds around the enrichment. Animals’ engagement with the enrichment also decreased over time. These results indicate that the presence of enrichment and people in, or around, the environment attracts the animals, influencing habitat use and movement patterns as a result. This work demonstrates the ability of the proposed framework for the quantification and persistent monitoring of bottlenose dolphins’ movement, and will enable new studies to investigate individual and group animal locomotion and behavior.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-06-26
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2030023
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 3 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 349-350: Working to Supply the Demand: Recent Advances
           in the Science of Zoo Animal Welfare

    • Authors: Katherine A. Cronin
      First page: 349
      Abstract: If animal welfare scientists were economists, we would be saying that the demand for knowledge is increasing faster than the supply [...]
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-07-01
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2030024
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 3 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 351-369: Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops
           truncatus, Behavioral Response to a Record-Breaking Flood Event in
           Pensacola Bay, Florida

    • Authors: Shauna McBride-Kebert, Christina N. Toms
      First page: 351
      Abstract: Common bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, can suffer health complications from prolonged freshwater exposure; however, little is known about how dolphins behaviorally respond to flood events. We investigated whether dolphins mitigated their freshwater exposure by moving south towards the estuary mouth and/or towards deeper areas with higher salinities in response to a record-breaking flood in Pensacola Bay, Florida. In total, 144 dolphin groups observed during 45 population dynamic surveys were analyzed across two flood-impacted sampling sessions and their respective seasonal control sessions. Kernel density estimates demonstrated southern movement towards the estuary mouth during flood-impacted sessions, but this distribution change was limited. Species distribution models showed that dolphins did not move to deeper areas after the flood and dolphin distribution was not substantially altered by flood-induced salinity changes. The estuary system exhibits strongly stratified waters with broad salinity ranges even during the flood. Dolphins may have mitigated the severity of freshwater exposure by capitalizing on these stratified areas as they continued to use habitat affected by the flood. A lack of avoidance of low salinity could result in this dolphin population being at greater risk for health problems, which should be considered in future population management and conservation.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-07-05
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2030025
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 3 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 130-145: Impacts of COVID-19 on Animals in Zoos: A
           Longitudinal Multi-Species Analysis

    • Authors: Ellen Williams, Anne Carter, Jessica Rendle, Samantha J. Ward
      First page: 130
      Abstract: Prolonged and repetitive COVID-19 facility closures have led to an abrupt cessation of visitors within UK and Irish zoos for variable periods since March 2020. This study sought to increase understanding of the impact of closures and reopenings on animal behaviour, thereby broadening understanding of whether zoo animals habituate to visitors. Data were collected from June to August 2020 at two UK facilities on eight species (n = 1 Chinese goral, n = 2 Grevy’s zebra, n = 11 swamp wallaby, n = 2 Rothschild’s giraffe, n = 2 nyala, n = 4 Chapman’s zebra, n = 2 snow leopard and n = 3 Amur leopard). Behaviour change and enclosure use was variable across species but most changes were non-significant. Grevy’s zebra engaged in more comfort behaviour during closure periods than post-closure (p < 0.05). Chinese goral engaged in more environmental interactions during closure periods (p < 0.05). Grevy’s zebra spent longer than would be expected by chance closest to public viewing areas during closure periods (p < 0.008). These results suggest variable impacts of covid-19 closures and reopenings, mirroring human-animal interaction literature. We highlight the potential for some species to take longer to re-habituate to the presence of zoo visitors. As facility closures/reopenings are ongoing, we advocate a longitudinal monitoring approach. Furthermore, we recommend incorporation of physical and physiological measures of welfare where possible, alongside behavioural responses, to enable a holistic approach to answering fundamental questions on whether zoo animals habituate to visitors.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-03-30
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020010
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 146-163: Localize Animal Sound Events Reliably
           (LASER): A New Software for Sound Localization in Zoos

    • Authors: Sebastian Schneider, Paul Wilhelm Dierkes
      First page: 146
      Abstract: Locating a vocalizing animal can be useful in many fields of bioacoustics and behavioral research, and is often done in the wild, covering large areas. In zoos, however, the application of this method becomes particularly difficult, because, on the one hand, the animals are in a relatively small area and, on the other hand, reverberant environments and background noise complicate the analysis. Nevertheless, by localizing and analyzing animal sounds, valuable information on physiological state, sex, subspecies, reproductive state, social status, and animal welfare can be gathered. Therefore, we developed a sound localization software that is able to estimate the position of a vocalizing animal precisely, making it possible to assign the vocalization to the corresponding individual, even under difficult conditions. In this study, the accuracy and reliability of the software is tested under various conditions. Different vocalizations were played back through a loudspeaker and recorded with several microphones to verify the accuracy. In addition, tests were carried out under real conditions using the example of the giant otter enclosure at Dortmund Zoo, Germany. The results show that the software can estimate the correct position of a sound source with a high accuracy (median of the deviation 0.234 m). Consequently, this software could make an important contribution to basic research via position determination and the associated differentiation of individuals, and could be relevant in a long-term application for monitoring animal welfare in zoos.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-04-01
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020011
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 164-173: Effects of Enclosure and Environmental
           Enrichment on the Behaviour of Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta)

    • Authors: Daan W. Laméris, Jonas Verspeek, Arno Depoortere, Lise Plessers, Marina Salas
      First page: 164
      Abstract: Environmental enrichment is widely used to improve the quality of life of animals under human care. To successfully implement enrichment programs, it is important to evaluate their effect in different enclosure types since housing conditions may change depending on external factors, such as husbandry, management, or seasonal variation. This study investigates how ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) behaviour changes with the availability of enrichment items and the type of enclosure the animals are housed in. Through observations, we compared the behaviour of the lemurs in an indoor and outdoor enclosure, both without and with enrichment items. Although we observed enrichment effects, we found that enclosure type had a bigger effect on the lemurs’ behaviour. Additionally, behavioural changes induced by enrichment items differed between indoor and outdoor enclosures. These results indicate that the effectiveness of enrichment items may depend on the enclosure in which they are provided and consequently suggest that the impact of these programs should not be generalised over enclosure types. This highlights that the evaluation of environmental enrichment programs remains important when optimising zoo animal welfare.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-04-01
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020012
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 174-206: Influences of Rearing Environment on
           Behaviour and Welfare of Captive Chilean Flamingos: A Case Study on
           Foster-Reared and Parent-Reared Birds

    • Authors: Peter Kidd, Paul Rose
      First page: 174
      Abstract: Behaviour signals the internal states that relate to an individual’s welfare and its development is influenced by the early social environment that an animal experiences. Husbandry practices can alter this early social environment, for example different rearing conditions (e.g., foster rearing by a surrogate parent of another species). Widespread implementation of altered rearing can lack empirical support and non-parent-reared animals may experience poorer welfare resulting from maternal deprivation. An opportunity presented itself to measure the effect of foster-rearing on Chilean flamingo behaviour and social preferences at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre and compare findings to parent-reared conspecifics in the same time period. Data were collected from April to July 2019 at three timepoints during each observation day. Binomial generalized linear mixed models were used to assess the relationship between focal chicks’ rearing background with behaviour, zone usage, and flock position whilst accounting for climatic factors and visitor numbers. The development of social preferences was assessed using social network analysis. Our results showed limited impacts on flamingo behavioural development due to foster rearing. Foster-reared chicks spent less time feeding, were more likely to occupy the nesting area of the enclosure, and had fewer significant preferred associations than parent-reared chicks, but preferred social bonds were as equally strong and durable for both foster-reared and parent-reared chicks. Our results have important welfare implications for the use of foster-rearing in captive environments; altered early social rearing environments through cross-fostering in Chilean flamingos is associated with limited differences in behavioural and social development.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-04-08
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020013
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 207-221: Gaps in Live Inter-Observer Reliability
           Testing of Animal Behavior: A Retrospective Analysis and Path Forward

    • Authors: Jason D. Wark, Natasha K. Wierzal, Katherine A. Cronin
      First page: 207
      Abstract: Observational behavior research is an important activity for zoos and aquariums, often being conducted to provide insights into welfare and guide management decisions. This research relies on standardized protocols to ensure consistent data collection. Inter-observer reliability, where untrained observers are tested against the behavior identifications of an expert observer, represent a critical internal validation process. Recent software advances have made reliability testing easier and more accessible, but there is limited guidance on what constitutes a strong reliability test. In this study, we reviewed historic reliability test data from Lincoln Park Zoo’s on-going behavior monitoring program. Six representative species were chosen that included 645 live pairwise reliability tests conducted across 163 total project observers. We identified that observers were being tested on only approximately 25% of the behaviors listed and defined in the species ethograms. Observers did encounter a greater percent of the ethogram with successive reliability tests, but this gap remained large. While inactive behaviors were well-represented during reliability tests, social and other non-maintenance solitary behaviors (e.g., exploratory, scent marking, play, etc.) did not frequently occur during tests. While the ultimate implications of these gaps in testing are unclear, these results highlight the risks of live reliability testing as an inherently non-standardized process. We suggest several approaches to help address these limitations, including refining ethograms, reconsidering criteria, and supplementing live training with video. We hope this self-critique encourages others to critically examine their methods, enhance the quality of their behavioral data, and ultimately, strengthen conclusions drawn about animal behavior and welfare.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-04-15
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020014
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 222-233: A System for Monitoring Acoustics to
           Supplement an Animal Welfare Plan for Bottlenose Dolphins

    • Authors: Brittany L. Jones, Michael Oswald, Samantha Tufano, Mark Baird, Jason Mulsow, Sam H. Ridgway
      First page: 222
      Abstract: Animal sounds are commonly used by humans to infer information about their motivations and their health, yet, acoustic data is an underutilized welfare biomarker especially for aquatic animals. Here, we describe an acoustic monitoring system that is being implemented at the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program where dolphins live in groups in ocean enclosures in San Diego Bay. A four-element bottom mounted hydrophone array is used to continuously record, detect and localize acoustic detections from this focal group. Software provides users an automated comparison of the current acoustic behavior to group historical data which can be used to identify periods of normal, healthy thriving dolphins, and allows rare instances of deviations from typical behavior to stand out. Variations in a group or individual’s call rates can be correlated with independent veterinary examinations and behavioral observations in order to better assess dolphin health and welfare. Additionally, the monitoring system identifies time periods in which a sound source from San Diego Bay is of high-enough amplitude that the received level at our array is considered a potential concern for the focal animals. These time stamps can be used to identify and potentially mitigate exposures to acoustic sources that may otherwise not be obvious to human listeners. We hope this application inspires zoos and aquaria to innovate and create ways to incorporate acoustic information into their own animal welfare management programs.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-04-29
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020015
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 234-249: Attendance and Perceived Constraints to
           Attendance at Zoological Gardens during the Spring 2020 COVID-19
           Re-Opening: The Czechia Case

    • Authors: Lukáš Nekolný, Dana Fialová
      First page: 234
      Abstract: Zoos are one of the most visited tourist and leisure attractions. After all the important Central-European zoos closed in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a few weeks later they started to re-open. The main goal of this article is to evaluate how the number of visits developed after the first zoo re-openings and what specific factors limited attendances the most after the reopening, using the example of Czech zoos in May and June 2020. In addition to the information available on zoos’ online communication channels, the authors’ questionnaire survey data and attendance data provided by the zoos were used. The results indicate that the attendance was reduced the most by the obligation to buy tickets online, by the closure of state borders, and by a low limit on daily maximum number of visitors allowed. Different approaches to restricting zoos’ capacity are discussed and the use of the maximum number of people by surface area of visitor routes at one time to limit attendance is recommended. In the future, this could be a key factor for sustainability of many zoos.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-05-07
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020016
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 250-264: Education Is Entertainment' Zoo Science
           Communication on YouTube

    • Authors: Thomas Llewellyn, Paul E. Rose
      First page: 250
      Abstract: YouTube is the dominant online video-sharing platform and offers zoos an opportunity to engage a vast audience with conservation content. As there is limited research evaluating how zoos currently utilize YouTube, we cataloged and evaluated the content of 20 zoological organizations (focusing on the top 1000 most viewed videos from each channel) from 2006 to 2019. Separately, educational content in a subsample of the most viewed and recently produced videos from three zoo-YouTube channels was catalogued and evaluated for the period 2016 to 2019. We found that channels are becoming more focused on producing entertainment, rather than education-based content and not reflecting the taxonomic diversity of their animals. Videos containing conservation content may not be the most popular with the YouTube audience (making up only 3% of the most viewed videos), but there is evidence that outputs are becoming more conservation orientated, with more conservation-focused videos being produced over time. Zoos may be engaging with large audiences via YouTube, but should carefully consider how they represent different taxonomic classes and how they can create educational material in interesting and accessible forms.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-05-11
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020017
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 265-272: Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Stimulation Tests
           in the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

    • Authors: Dorian S. Houser, Cory Champagne, Daniel E. Crocker
      First page: 265
      Abstract: Stimulation of the thyroid with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a potentially useful diagnostic of thyroid dysfunction, but little is known about the response of the thyroid to TSH stimulation in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). To better characterize the response of the dolphin thyroid to TSH stimulation, five adult dolphins participated in a TSH stimulation study. Dolphins voluntarily beached onto a padded mat and were given a 1.5 mg intramuscular injection of human recombinant TSH. Blood samples collected the day prior, at multiple intervals the day of, and daily for three days after the injection were analyzed via radioimmunoassay for free and total triiodothyronine (fT3 and tT3), and free and total thyroxine (fT4 and tT4). Significant increases in circulating fT3, fT4, and tT4 were observed with peaks occurring for all hormones the day after the TSH injection; maximal increases were 44%, 47%, and 23% for each hormone, respectively. Temporal patterns in the hormones potentially reflected feedback mechanisms countering the surge in fT3 following stimulation. Though recombinant human TSH was effective at stimulating hormone release, it is likely that use of dolphin or dolphin-derived TSH would enhance the clinical utility of the stimulation test, as would the development of antibodies specific to dolphin TSH.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-05-26
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020018
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 273-286: Activity, Social Relationships, and Maternal
           Care in a Bottlenose Dolphin Group under Professional Care

    • Authors: Lisa K. Lauderdale, Lance J. Miller
      First page: 273
      Abstract: Defining the activity patterns and social relationships of animals can provide valuable information related to animal welfare. Bottlenose dolphins under professional care engage in a variety of social and solitary activities, which may be influenced by conspecifics, time of day, and maternal behaviors. This study examined the social, solitary, and maternal behaviors of eight dolphins at one zoological facility. Data about social and solitary behaviors, nursing occurrences, and mother–calf pair swimming were collected five days per week over a ten-month period. The simple ratio index was used to calculate association rates for all dyads. Affiliative behaviors were the dominant behavior class and all behavior categories and swim states showed temporal oscillations throughout the day. The high association values within the mother–calf dyads suggested these ties remain strong through the second and third years of life. Preferred associates remained the same for some individuals in both social group compositions, while they differed for others. However, no large reductions in associations were recorded, suggesting strong relationships in the subgroups continued when other individuals were present. Examining sociality and activity levels may be a useful tool in continuing to improve welfare as they may be related to social groupings and environmental factors.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-05-28
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020019
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 287-299: Bottlenose Dolphins Produce Underwater
           Bubbles Linked to Cognitive Task Engagement but Not Success

    • Authors: Elena Alexander, Mark Abrahams, Fay E. Clark
      First page: 287
      Abstract: Captive mammals respond emotionally toward cognitive challenges, but research has precluded marine mammals. A potential indicator of emotion in toothed cetaceans is a large singular bubble (‘burst’) emitted from the blowhole, previously linked to surprise and excitement. Our study analysed bursts from a published study on dolphin cognitive enrichment. Bursts were only produced by task-engaged (72%) or task-spectating (28%) dolphins (n = 6 males in total). Burst frequency increased with the proportion of task engagement and spectator frequency, but not task progress or success (providing no evidence for an instantaneous ‘Eureka moment’). Bursts were reduced in frequency over three weeks, consistent with a decrease in task-engagement. Bursts were significantly more likely to come at the start of a bout of task-engagement than in the middle or end. We suggest bursts were an emotional response signaling dolphins’ instantaneous judgement of the task, more likely related to positive affect (interest, curiosity) than negative affect (frustration). They appear unrelated to respiration. It was unclear whether bursts were produced consciously and had a social function. We call for further dedicated research on the emotional valence of cetacean bursts. This will require simultaneous behavioural and acoustic measurements under different levels of more controlled challenge.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-06-01
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020020
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 300-315: Use of Interactive Technology in Captive
           Great Ape Management

    • Authors: Caitlin A. Ford, Liz Bellward, Clive J. C. Phillips, Kris Descovich
      First page: 300
      Abstract: The conservation status of great apes (chimpanzees Pan troglodytes, gorillas Gorilla sp., orangutans Pongo sp., and bonobos Pan paniscus) is grave and zoological institutions are vital for maintaining numbers of these species and educating the public about their importance. Technology provides tools that can assist zoos in meeting these objectives. However, the extant research on technology use in zoos is potentially constrained by small sample sizes and there is no framework detailing the methodologies necessary for the successful incorporation of technology into great ape management. Therefore, this study aimed to determine current technology use in the management of captive great apes and whether technology-directed behaviour differs between ape genera. Primary carers of great apes in zoos were surveyed using a 43-question, online questionnaire. The purpose of integrating interactive technology into captive ape management was primarily for enrichment (53% of respondents), followed by research (20% of respondents). However, only 25% of respondents had apes directly engaged with technology. There were no differences in technology-directed behaviours between ape genera. By identifying differences in practice, this research marks the initial stage in developing a best practice framework for using technology.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-06-07
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020021
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 2 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 1-9: Posture as a Non-Invasive Indicator of Arousal in
           American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus)

    • Authors: Sarah M. Woody, Rachel M. Santymire, Katherine A. Cronin
      First page: 1
      Abstract: Animal welfare has become a priority for modern zoos and aquariums. However, amphibians have not yet been the focus of much welfare research, perhaps in part because they do not tend to display many quantifiable active behaviors. This study focused on nine zoo-housed American toads (Anaxyrus americanus), a species that displays long periods of sedentary behavior, to explore whether more subtle cues could serve as welfare indicators. A novel American toad posture index was developed that characterized toad posture based on the angle of their forelimbs, visibility of ventral regions, and body weight distribution. As an indicator of arousal, approximate breathing rates were assessed based on the rate of expansion of the toads’ throats. Subsequent analyses revealed that lower body postures were associated with slower rates of throat expansion and raised postures with faster rates of throat expansion, suggesting that posture may be a promising way to quickly and non-invasively assess toad arousal. This work lays important groundwork for assessing welfare of an understudied species, and we are optimistic that, with additional validation, these approaches can be applied in future amphibian welfare research.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-01-07
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010001
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 10-20: The Effect of Enrichment Filling and Engagement
           Time on Regurgitation and Reingestion Behaviour in Three Zoo-Housed
           Orangutans

    • Authors: Rebecca Nash, Helen Johnston, Amy Robbins, Kris Descovich
      First page: 10
      Abstract: Regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) is a prevalent, abnormal behaviour observed in captive great apes. R/R may be related to animal welfare and while less R/R appears to occur when apes are provided with browse and continuous foraging opportunities, the aetiology of the behaviour (e.g., foraging time or taste characteristics such as sweetness) is not well understood. This study aimed to determine how environmental enrichment may affect R/R in three zoo-housed, adult orangutans. Over eight weeks, nine fillable enrichment items were provided twice to each orangutan–once with a sweet filling and once with a savoury filling. Enrichment engagement time and R/R behaviour were monitored for 1-h after the item was provided. Individual differences were found in R/R occurrence. One individual was more likely to perform R/R when given enrichment with a sweet filling (p < 0.05), and a second was more likely to R/R with savoury filled enrichment (p < 0.05). R/R behaviour from the third orangutan was unaffected by enrichment filling (p > 0.05), however he engaged longer with savoury filled enrichment, compared to sweet (p < 0.05). No relationship was found between engagement time and amount of R/R behaviour, for any of the orangutans (p > 0.05). While these results should not be generalized without a larger study, they do suggest that diet and enrichment qualities may play a role in the performance of R/R, and individual variation should not be overlooked when considering causation.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-01-14
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010002
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 21-40: Leveraging Social Learning to Enhance Captive
           Animal Care and Welfare

    • Authors: Lydia M. Hopper
      First page: 21
      Abstract: From ants to zebras, animals are influenced by the behavior of others. At the simplest level, social support can reduce neophobia, increasing animals’ exploration of novel spaces, foods, and other environmental stimuli. Animals can also learn new skills more quickly and more readily after observing others perform them. How then can we apply animals’ proclivity to socially learn to enhance their care and welfare in captive settings' Here, I review the ways in which animals (selectively) use social information, and propose tactics for leveraging that to refine the behavioral management of captive animals: to enhance socialization techniques, enrichment strategies, and training outcomes. It is also important to consider, however, that social learning does not always promote the uniform expression of new behaviors. There are differences in animals’ likelihood to seek out or use socially provided information, driven by characteristics such as species, rank, age, and personality. Additionally, social learning can result in inexact transmission or the transmission of undesirable behaviors. Thus, understanding when, how, and why animals use social information is key to developing effective strategies to improve how we care for animals across settings and, ultimately, enhance captive animal welfare.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-02-25
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010003
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 41-65: Conservation Education: Are Zoo Animals
           Effective Ambassadors and Is There Any Cost to Their Welfare'

    • Authors: Sarah L. Spooner, Mark J. Farnworth, Samantha J. Ward, Katherine M. Whitehouse-Tedd
      First page: 41
      Abstract: Animal ambassador encounters (AAE), where visitors come into close-contact with animals, are popular in zoos and are advocated as promoting connection to wild species. However, educational and animal-welfare implications are relatively unknown. We conducted a systematic literature review (PRISMA) to investigate visitor and animal outcomes of AAE. We identified 19 peer reviewed articles and 13 other records focused on AAEs. Although we found net positive or neutral impacts overall, several studies indicated that high-intensity visitor contact and long-term exposure may be detrimental to animal welfare. Most studies lacked rigour and claims were based on an absence of negative impacts rather than evidence of benefits. Multiple publications were derived from the same datasets and there were no standardised measures for either welfare or education impacts. Of the peer-reviewed articles, just two considered both education and welfare. Education studies often used perceived learning or only post-experience testing. Welfare studies used small samples (median n = 4; range 1–59), and limited measures of welfare. In order to justify the continued use of AAEs in modern zoos, animal welfare costs must be proven to be minimal whilst having demonstrable and substantial visitor educational value. Large-scale, standardised impact assessments of both education and welfare impacts are needed.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-02-27
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010004
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 66-74: Effects of Nearby Construction Work on the
           Behavior of Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica)

    • Authors: Leah J. Williams, Katherine Finch, Rose Agnew, Lisa Holmes
      First page: 66
      Abstract: In order to be successful and have high standards of animal welfare, modern zoos strive to regularly modify, improve, and build animal enclosures and visitor areas. However, these periods of development could result in temporary durations of sub-optimal welfare for animals housed nearby. In this study, we monitored the behavior of three Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) prior to, during, and following a period of construction on a nearby building. Our results provide evidence that welfare may have been temporarily reduced during the construction period. Compared to the pre-construction period, the male exhibited an increase in pacing behavior and all three lions reduced the time they spent resting. We infer that the most significant negative stimulus related to the construction was sound and/or ground vibrations, as a physical barrier ruled out stress from visual stimuli. The behavioral response to the construction work was relatively short-lived and no long-term changes were observed one year on. This research highlights the importance of measuring animal behavior around events outside routine husbandry, and considering animal welfare on an individual basis. Finally, this work adds to the body of literature surrounding the impacts of construction on animal wellbeing and outlines some suggestions for potential mitigation.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-02-27
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010005
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 75-87: Assessing Animal Welfare with Behavior: Onward
           with Caution

    • Authors: Jason V. Watters, Bethany L. Krebs, Caitlin L. Eschmann
      First page: 75
      Abstract: An emphasis on ensuring animal welfare is growing in zoo and aquarium associations around the globe. This has led to a focus on measures of welfare outcomes for individual animals. Observations and interpretations of behavior are the most widely used outcome-based measures of animal welfare. They commonly serve as a diagnostic tool from which practitioners make animal welfare decisions and suggest treatments, yet errors in data collection and interpretation can lead to the potential for misdiagnosis. We describe the perils of incorrect welfare diagnoses and common mistakes in applying behavior-based tools. The missteps that can be made in behavioral assessment include mismatches between definitions of animal welfare and collected data, lack of alternative explanations, faulty logic, behavior interpreted out of context, murky assumptions, lack of behavior definitions, and poor justification for assigning a welfare value to a specific behavior. Misdiagnosing the welfare state of an animal has negative consequences. These include continued poor welfare states, inappropriate use of resources, lack of understanding of welfare mechanisms and the perpetuation of the previously mentioned faulty logic throughout the wider scientific community. We provide recommendations for assessing behavior-based welfare tools, and guidance for those developing tools and interpreting data.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-03-03
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010006
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 88-100: The Effects of Live Feeding on Swimming
           Activity and Exhibit Use in Zoo Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti)

    • Authors: Eduardo J. Fernandez, Mark Myers, Nancy C. Hawkes
      First page: 88
      Abstract: Penguins are considered among the most popular animals for zoo and aquarium visitors to observe. Swimming is considered a desirable activity, both for the visitor experience and the welfare of the penguins. However, little is known about the amount of time exhibited penguins spend swimming, or how such swimming is related to regular feeding events. We examined the effects of introducing live prey in the form of trout on 22 Humboldt penguins living at the Woodland Park Zoo. Of primary interest was how the live feeds changed (1) daily and hourly swimming activity, and (2) variability in enclosure use. We hypothesized that the live feedings would increase swimming activity prior to and during the delivery of the live trout, as well as create an overall increase in total swimming activity for live feed days compared to non-live feed days. We also predicted that the penguins would be more likely to use the entire exhibit around these live feeds, since they are likely to chase fish throughout the exhibit. Penguins did show an increase in swimming activity in the hour prior to and during the live feed, with a small decrease in swimming activity following the live feed when compared to non-live feed days. There was also a more than 30% increase in the total swimming activity for live feed days when compared to all other non-live feed days. In addition, a single measure of variability in enclosure use (entropy) showed greater overall enclosure use for the live feed days compared to the non-live feed days. These results demonstrate that live fish can be a useful way of enriching the behavioural welfare of Humboldt penguins.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-03-10
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010007
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 101-114: Insights into Activity of Zoo Housed Asian
           Elephants (Elephas maximus) during Periods of Limited Staff and Visitor
           Presence, a Focus on Resting Behaviour

    • Authors: Katherine Finch, Fiona Sach, Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Lewis J. Rowden
      First page: 101
      Abstract: Historically, behaviour of zoo housed species during hours of limited staff and visitor presence has been poorly studied, largely due to the lack of appropriate technology. Advances in digital monitoring equipment and facility design by European elephant holders has given researchers scope to accurately evaluate behaviour for this species over 24 hrs. Various behavioural indicators of welfare have now been identified for zoo housed elephants; however the relationship between resting behaviour and welfare experience has been an area highlighted to require additional research. Lying rest is a potential positive welfare indicator for this species, with studies suggesting that engagement in lying rest can be used to monitor both psychological and physiological wellbeing. Throughout this work we aim to give insights into the behaviour of individual Asian elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, specifically between the hours of 16:00 and 10:00. In addition to presenting the activity budgets of our study individuals during these times, we explore individual engagement in resting behaviour. Furthermore, we evaluate the social associations of our study group during rest. We provide evidence that unrelated individuals can form strong associations with conspecifics when resting and show that life history is a factor to consider when evaluating social compatibility between group members. Finally, we demonstrate the positive role that calves and juvenile individuals can play in facilitating meaningful associations between group members during rest. Our study highlights the importance of evaluating behaviour during understudied time periods in order to obtain a holistic view of individual welfare, further emphasising the importance of adopting an evidence-based approach to management for this species in zoos.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-03-16
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010008
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
  • JZBG, Vol. 2, Pages 115-129: Evaluating the Effect of Visitor Presence on
           Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) Behavior

    • Authors: Alex Riley, Megan Terry, Hani Freeman, Andrew C. Alba, Joseph Soltis, Austin Leeds
      First page: 115
      Abstract: Visitor presence has been shown to affect the behavior of animals in zoos. However, studies to date have not included a wide range of taxonomic groupings, and thus, the effect is poorly understood for many species. Here, we compared the behavior of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) in the presence and absence of visitors for the first time. Data were collected at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® over two months during normal operating conditions and during the same two months the following year when the park was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, totaling 158 observation hours. Significant differences in crocodile behavior were observed between park operating conditions; however, the direction of change varied by behavior and average differences were generally small. In addition, we found that time of day, temperature and month significantly affected behavior, often with greater magnitude than visitor presence. This highlights the importance of accounting for environmental variables when evaluating and interpreting the behavior, and ultimately welfare, of reptiles in zoos. Collectively, the data suggest the overall effect of visitors on crocodile behavior was small and neutral from a welfare perspective. This study highlights the importance of taxonomic diversity in studying the visitor effect.
      Citation: Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
      PubDate: 2021-03-19
      DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2010009
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2021)
       
 
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