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J. Zool. Bot. Gard., Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2023) – 24 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Environmental enrichment is used to promote species-appropriate behaviors. The Saint Louis Zoo presented Bali mynas (Leucopsar rothschildi) enrichment items from four categories (leafy greens, food-based, manipulative and progressively challenging) to reduce feather pecking. Pecking was not affected by enrichment, but adding enrichment increased locomotion and decreased autopreening, allogrooming, and head bobbing. Leafy greens produced the greatest changes among the enrichment types. Engagement with a progressively challenging device increased with additional uses, and interaction with the device was the highest with the most difficult version. These increases suggest that no habituation to the device occurred, while a possible neophobic effect declined with additional uses. View this paper
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Editorial
Regional Conservation, Research, and Education: Ways Forward
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 288-291; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010024 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 614
Abstract
There are currently over 8 billion people on Earth, a figure which grows by approximately 67 million annually; https://www [...] Full article
Article
By Bits and Pieces: The Contributions of Zoos and Aquariums to Science and Society via Biomaterials
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 277-287; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010023 - 13 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Scientific research has long been recognized as one of the four pillars of the zoo or aquarium mission, alongside recreation, conservation, and education. This study sought to quantify a sample of zoos’ participation in scientific research via the provision of biomaterials from animals [...] Read more.
Scientific research has long been recognized as one of the four pillars of the zoo or aquarium mission, alongside recreation, conservation, and education. This study sought to quantify a sample of zoos’ participation in scientific research via the provision of biomaterials from animals to outside scientists and the associated training of undergraduate and graduate students that resulted from these projects. A convenience sample of zoos provided data on their participation in biomaterials-related projects and a focused analysis of biomaterials-related research facilitated by the Saint Louis Zoo was conducted. In addition, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ conservation & science database was queried to uncover what research projects AZA members engaged in over the last five years that likely involved biomaterials research and training of students. Results demonstrate that zoos are making significant contributions to science by agreeing to participate in large numbers of biomaterials-related projects across different areas of focus involving a variety of animal species annually, with results applicable to human and non-human animals. Support of such research often involves student thesis projects, thus contributing to the education of future scientists. Full article
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Communication
Improving Animal Wellbeing Using Behavior-Based Methodologies: A Discussion on Enrichment and Bears under Human Care
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 256-276; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010022 - 10 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1328
Abstract
This communication discusses the Bear Care Group’s “behavior-based” enrichment philosophy, focusing on the importance of enrichment programs built on the knowledge of species’ natural histories, living strategies, and observed daily and seasonal routines. Methods for program development are discussed, detailing the benefits to [...] Read more.
This communication discusses the Bear Care Group’s “behavior-based” enrichment philosophy, focusing on the importance of enrichment programs built on the knowledge of species’ natural histories, living strategies, and observed daily and seasonal routines. Methods for program development are discussed, detailing the benefits to animal wellbeing, including the reduction of chronic stress and frustration that lead to abnormal or stereotypical behaviors. The concepts are illustrated through a discussion of bear natural history and living strategies, but these methods are applicable to a wide range of taxa. The Bear Care Group encourages facilities to consider behavior-based enrichment programs to promote positive welfare for their animals. Full article
Article
Effects of Failure on California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) Gameplay Strategies and Interest in a Cognitive Task: Implications for Cognitive Enrichment in Pinnipeds
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 240-255; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010021 - 08 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1531
Abstract
Cognitive enrichment for professionally managed species has become more prevalent in recent years in both zoological and research settings and has been encouraged as a means of welfare enhancement. However, the task’s difficulty must be specifically tailored as it can impact the successful [...] Read more.
Cognitive enrichment for professionally managed species has become more prevalent in recent years in both zoological and research settings and has been encouraged as a means of welfare enhancement. However, the task’s difficulty must be specifically tailored as it can impact the successful nature of the sessions, as tasks that are too simple or difficult may not be perceived as enriching by the animals. While pinnipeds are common in zoos, aquariums, and research facilities, few studies have explored the use of cognitively challenging enrichment in this species, and the level of difficulty and presence of failure on animal success and engagement in this type of session has not been assessed. In this study, gameplay strategies during computerized enrichment sessions were evaluated before and after a game that introduced failure, or the loss of opportunity to complete a level for a reward after an incorrect movement. Interest in participation during the session, measured as the latency without contact, was also tested as a proxy for this enrichment’s effect on welfare. When incorrect movements resulted in a short pause and removed the opportunity to finish individual levels for a reward, all three sea lions tested significantly reduced the amount of time spent on each of several strategies they employed, but significantly increased the number of button presses per strategy, suggesting the animals focused on more precise movements as their proficiency improved. Two sea lions also showed a significant decline in latency without contact following the introduction of failure in the form of a single opportunity to complete a task for a reward after previously having unlimited opportunities, while one maintained a low latency without contact across both test conditions. The results suggest that more cognitively challenging tasks incorporating failure did not cause a reduction in gameplay performance and session interest in sea lions. Individual variation was also noted in strategy use, emphasizing the importance of evaluating the individual in terms of enrichment provision. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Targeted Injections of Ivermectin or Potassium Chloride for Euthanasia of Anesthetized Thorny Devil Stick Insects (Eurycantha calcarata)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 231-239; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010020 - 03 Mar 2023
Viewed by 776
Abstract
Insects are commonly utilized in biomedical research and have become increasingly popular in museum collections and as pets. Despite this, objective evaluation of insect euthanasia is scarce. This study investigated the effectiveness of targeted injections of ivermectin or potassium chloride (KCl) for the [...] Read more.
Insects are commonly utilized in biomedical research and have become increasingly popular in museum collections and as pets. Despite this, objective evaluation of insect euthanasia is scarce. This study investigated the effectiveness of targeted injections of ivermectin or potassium chloride (KCl) for the euthanasia of anesthetized thorny devil stick insects (Eurycantha calcarata). Ten clinically healthy mature insects (six males, four females) were enrolled. Insects were weighed and anesthetized via exposure to a cotton ball soaked with 1.6 mL of liquid isoflurane in a 1 L sealed chamber until loss of righting reflex and response to stimulation (induction). Insects then received one of three treatments: ivermectin 100 mg/kg (n = 4), KCl 200 mEq/kg (n = 4), or 0.9% sodium chloride 100 mL/kg (n = 2) injected along the ventral thoracic midline between the first leg plate and the caudal adjacent plate. Following injection, insects were serially monitored for return of spontaneous movement and righting reflex. Death was defined as the absence of spontaneous movement for 48 h. Median (range) induction time and isoflurane concentration at induction was 36 (22–39) min (n = 9) and 22 (19–22)%, respectively. Euthanasia was successful in 4/4, 3/4, and 0/2 isoflurane-anesthetized insects receiving ivermectin, KCl, or 0.9% sodium chloride, respectively. Recovery was prolonged at 10.5 (sodium chloride female), 11.0 (KCl male), and 18.0 (sodium chloride male) hours. This is the first prospective investigation of euthanasia in adult E. calcarata. In this preliminary study, ivermectin 100 mg/kg via ventral midline injection was effective for euthanasia of thorny devil stick insects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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Article
Local Plant and Insect Conservation Evaluated with Organizational Identity Theory
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 214-230; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010019 - 03 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
With a range of programs focused on local plant and insect conservation, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden works with partners and our communities to restore landscapes and thriving ecosystems for wildlife and people. We used organizational identity theory (OIT) to evaluate the [...] Read more.
With a range of programs focused on local plant and insect conservation, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden works with partners and our communities to restore landscapes and thriving ecosystems for wildlife and people. We used organizational identity theory (OIT) to evaluate the current strategies and practices of five programs and determine opportunities for adaptation to better achieve our organizational conservation goals. Case studies ranged from habitat restoration of wetlands and gardens to community engagement to encourage individual gardeners and the reintroduction of endangered plants and insects. We present program characteristics and how collaborative partnerships facilitate opportunities for zoos to lead the conservation of local flora and fauna. The OIT framework reveals components critical to strategy implementation and best practices relevant to other zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens when evaluating their collaborative conservation initiatives. Full article
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Article
Age and Social History Impact Social Interactions between Bull Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) at Denver Zoo
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 191-213; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010018 - 01 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1600
Abstract
Wild bull Asian elephants spend time in all-male groups. Therefore, managers of ex situ populations increasingly house bulls together. We examined the social interactions of five bull Asian elephants at Denver Zoo, using instantaneous sampling to compare social interactions across adolescent and mature [...] Read more.
Wild bull Asian elephants spend time in all-male groups. Therefore, managers of ex situ populations increasingly house bulls together. We examined the social interactions of five bull Asian elephants at Denver Zoo, using instantaneous sampling to compare social interactions across adolescent and mature bulls, and bulls with a social history prior to the integration of this group compared to bulls with no social history. Both age and social history significantly affected bull behavior. Adolescent bulls exhibited more affiliative and submissive behaviors when housed with mixed-age and mature social partners compared to with only adolescents, and less non-contact agonistic behavior and less time in proximity to a conspecific with mixed-age groups compared to with only other adolescents. Mature bulls exhibited more affiliative behavior when they were with only adolescent bulls compared to only mature bulls, and more time in proximity to a conspecific and increased contact agonistic behavior with at least one adolescent compared to only mature bulls. Bulls in new social groups engaged in more affiliative, agonistic, and submissive behaviors, and spent less time in proximity, than when they were in previously established social combinations. As more institutions house bulls socially, our results provide insights into factors that may affect bull social interactions. Full article
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Article
Quantifying Acute Behavioral Reactions of Bali Mynas (Leucopsar rothschildi) to Environmental and Progressively Challenging Enrichment
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 176-190; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010017 - 01 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1810
Abstract
Animals use specific behaviors and skills to overcome challenges and access resources. Environmental enrichment is provided to animals in human care to both promote species-appropriate behaviors and reduce undesired behaviors. Feather pecking in birds is an undesired behavior without a clear cause. The [...] Read more.
Animals use specific behaviors and skills to overcome challenges and access resources. Environmental enrichment is provided to animals in human care to both promote species-appropriate behaviors and reduce undesired behaviors. Feather pecking in birds is an undesired behavior without a clear cause. The Saint Louis Zoo houses three pairs of young Bali mynas (Leucopsar rothschildi) who pluck neck feathers from conspecifics. To reduce this behavior, animal care staff presented the birds with seven enrichment items from four categories, presenting each item twice. The enrichment included a modifiable, progressively challenging bamboo tube device at multiple levels of difficulty. While plucking was not affected by any enrichment item, we observed significant increases in locomotion and decreases in autopreening, allogrooming, and head bobbing. Leafy greens produced the greatest changes when compared to other enrichment types. Overall engagement with the progressively challenging enrichment increased with the change from the first to the second level of difficulty, and interaction with the device was highest for the third and most difficult version. These increases suggest that no habituation to the progressively challenging device occurred, while a possible neophobic effect declined with multiple uses and increased familiarity. Full article
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Article
Comparing Predictors and Outcomes of Higher Allostatic Load across Zoo-Housed African Great Apes
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 158-175; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010016 - 01 Mar 2023
Viewed by 990
Abstract
Stressors over the lifespan can contribute to physiological dysregulation, or allostatic load. Allostatic load has been studied in humans using allostatic load indices (ALIs) for over 25 years, but the same methods are rarely applied to other species. We constructed an ALI for [...] Read more.
Stressors over the lifespan can contribute to physiological dysregulation, or allostatic load. Allostatic load has been studied in humans using allostatic load indices (ALIs) for over 25 years, but the same methods are rarely applied to other species. We constructed an ALI for zoo-housed western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos and tested potential predictors of and health outcomes associated with allostatic load. Allostatic load scores ranged from 0–6 for gorillas and chimpanzees and 0–7 for bonobos. Age was significantly associated with allostatic load in gorillas and chimpanzees but not bonobos. Cumulative stressful events were positively associated with allostatic load in chimpanzees. Wild-caught gorillas had higher allostatic load than zoo-born conspecifics, but rearing differences between zoo-born animals were not significant for any species. Age may affect associations of allostatic load with stressful events and birthplace as results change when it is included as a covariate. Allostatic load was not retained in best-fit models for risk of all-cause morbidity, cardiac disease, or mortality risk. Some analyses herein were limited by the use of retrospective data, such as reason for sample collection and length of records provided for individual animals. Nevertheless, these data indicate additional research is needed to optimize ALIs for non-human primates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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Article
The Effect of Pyrantel Pamoate Treatment on Fecal Pinworm (Leidynema appendiculata) Parasites of Dietary Dubia Roaches (Blaptica dubia): Efforts to Eliminate Passthrough Fecal Pseudoparasites in Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs (Echinops telfairi)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 146-157; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010015 - 10 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Pinworm ova were discovered on lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi) fecal exams. Ova were passthrough pseudoparasite pinworms originating from feeder roaches (Blaptica dubia). Roaches were maintained as a feeder colony and offered to tenrecs as a portion of their diet. Pinworms [...] Read more.
Pinworm ova were discovered on lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi) fecal exams. Ova were passthrough pseudoparasite pinworms originating from feeder roaches (Blaptica dubia). Roaches were maintained as a feeder colony and offered to tenrecs as a portion of their diet. Pinworms were identified as Leidynema appendiculata. This study aimed to determine if these pinworms could be eliminated from the roaches. Roaches were randomly assigned into groups (n = 24), including a control (A) and four treatment groups (B–E). Treatment group roaches received oral dosing of anthelmintic pyrantel pamoate at four concentrations (mg/g as offered): 3.5 (Group B), 14.0 (Group C), 26.0 (Group D), and 35.0 (Group E). Roach diets were made weekly and offered to roaches 2 consecutive days per week for 3 consecutive weeks. The total pinworm ova per gram of roach feces examined were visually reduced in all treatment groups compared to controls at the end of the feed dosing period (Day 23). Post-treatment pinworm numbers were visually reduced in all treatment groups compared to controls on Day 29 and Day 65. Groups receiving higher concentrations of the oral dosing (C–E) significantly differed from controls at Day 29 (p = 0.0086, p = 0.0045, and p = 0.0013, respectively) with a concentration-dependent response. Parasites were not eliminated in any group at Day 29 or 65 post-treatment, with an increasing visual trend indicating recontamination. This is the first report confirming a passthrough pseudoparasite in tenrecs from dubia roaches, and anthelmintic dosage research is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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Article
Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Carotenoid Concentrations in Livers of Marine Toads (Rhinella marina)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 134-145; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010014 - 08 Feb 2023
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Global amphibian population decline is a major concern. Therefore, conservation centers have become increasingly needed for population sustainability breeding programs. This need makes proper nutrition programs while in human care imperative. The specific nutritional focus of this current research was to analyze vitamin [...] Read more.
Global amphibian population decline is a major concern. Therefore, conservation centers have become increasingly needed for population sustainability breeding programs. This need makes proper nutrition programs while in human care imperative. The specific nutritional focus of this current research was to analyze vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoid (apocarotenoid, β-carotene, β-carotene ester, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, lutein ester, zeaxanthin, and zeaxanthin ester) concentrations in the liver of 66 free-range marine toads (Rhinella marina) over a two-month period after entering human management. Toads were fed supplemented crickets randomly assigned to one of two diets: Diet 1 consisted of brown house crickets (Acheta domestica) gut loaded with Mazuri® Cricket Diet 5M38 and small amounts of sweet potato and carrots; Diet 2 consisted of an identical diet with the gut loaded crickets additionally dusted with Repashy® Superfoods Vitamin A Plus. Ten toads were euthanized prior to human management on Day 0 to assess baseline liver nutrients. Seven toads consuming each of the two diets (14 toads total) were euthanized on Days 9, 15, 32, and 62. Regardless of diet treatment, there were decreases (p < 0.05) in all the analyzed nutrient concentrations over the 62-day human management period. The results from this study indicate that higher dietary vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoid content may be needed and/or the cricket gut loading and dusting techniques used to feed the amphibians food source insects may be inadequate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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Article
Gender and Age, but Not Visual Context, Impact Wildlife Attitudes and Perceptions of Animals in Zoos
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 118-133; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010013 - 07 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
People’s attitudes toward wildlife may impact their behaviors in support of conservation. We surveyed people in the United States to determine if gender, age, or visual contexts commonly seen in zoos impacted wildlife attitudes and perceptions of animals in zoos. After viewing an [...] Read more.
People’s attitudes toward wildlife may impact their behaviors in support of conservation. We surveyed people in the United States to determine if gender, age, or visual contexts commonly seen in zoos impacted wildlife attitudes and perceptions of animals in zoos. After viewing an image of a two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) or reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) in one of six different contexts, respondents indicated their agreement with statements designed to reveal their wildlife attitudes. We categorized attitude types, determined factors influencing attitudes, and investigated perceptions of animals in zoos. Analyses revealed both positive and negative wildlife attitudes. Attitudes were not influenced by the context in which animals were portrayed but were highly impacted by gender and age. Similar factors influenced perceptions of animals in zoos. Zoological facilities should consider how attitudes are shaped by gender and age when designing animal exhibits, educational programs, and media offerings to promote conservation mindedness. Full article
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Article
Reference Intervals and Clinical Utility of Acute Phase Proteins and Serum Proteins Electrophoresis in the Hamadryas Baboon (Papio hamadryas)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 108-117; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010012 - 03 Feb 2023
Viewed by 534
Abstract
Measurements of specific acute phase proteins (APP) and protein electrophoresis (EPH) fractions have been widely used to better assess the health of species under managed care across numerous taxa. To date, APP assays have not been validated in the hamadryas baboon (Papio [...] Read more.
Measurements of specific acute phase proteins (APP) and protein electrophoresis (EPH) fractions have been widely used to better assess the health of species under managed care across numerous taxa. To date, APP assays have not been validated in the hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas), and reference intervals have not yet been established. This information is critical for the interpretation of APP and EPH measurements used in the diagnosis of inflammatory diseases during routine veterinary care of this species. To obtain this information, banked serum samples from hamadryas baboons of various age, sex, and health status, under managed care at the North Carolina Zoo, were analyzed. A small pilot study found significantly higher serum amyloid A (SAA) and C-reactive protein (CRP) but not haptoglobin in baboons with acute inflammation compared to healthy counterparts, so these two APPs were investigated further. Reagents for serum amyloid A (SAA) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were validated, although differences in CRP reagents were observed. Based on the results of this study, SAA and CRP were defined as major APPs that were significantly increased in baboons with active inflammation or infection compared to healthy conspecifics. Baboons with acute inflammation additionally had significantly higher gamma globulins compared to healthy baboons. Although mean albumin concentrations were lower in baboons with acute inflammation, the difference from healthy baboons was not statistically significant. This study identifies SAA, CRP, and EPH as useful tools in the diagnosis of inflammatory disease in the hamadryas baboon and establishes reference intervals to aid in the future veterinary care of this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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Article
Effects of Background Color on Stress-Linked Behavior in the Critically Endangered Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 99-107; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010011 - 02 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Ex situ amphibian populations are a key component of global amphibian conservation strategy, and optimal husbandry is vital to ex situ conservation success. Animal behavior can be used to inform captive welfare and improve husbandry practices. However, it has been little used for [...] Read more.
Ex situ amphibian populations are a key component of global amphibian conservation strategy, and optimal husbandry is vital to ex situ conservation success. Animal behavior can be used to inform captive welfare and improve husbandry practices. However, it has been little used for amphibians compared with mammals and birds. The goal of this study was to explore the effect of different colored tank backgrounds on the behavior of the critically endangered Lake Oku clawed frog (Xenopus longipes) in captivity. This was conducted by studying the behavior of a group of 24 captive frogs in 5 groups using established behavioral indicators of presumed stress. Resting and swimming behaviors, established in the literature as linked to acute stress, were recorded under conditions of three background colors and a standard husbandry control of no background. Frog groups were exposed to each background for five days with behavioral frequencies recorded daily from 11:00 until 13:00. Using generalized linear mixed models, we identified a significant effect of background days after the background was changed and the interaction between the two variables on both swimming and resting behavior. The results of this study suggest an initial response of stress to altering the background, modulated by the color of the background, followed by the extinction of the stress response such that by five days after the background change, behaviors were similar to the baseline and indistinguishable between treatments. Overall, this study suggests that frog stress behavior was not differentially directly affected by green, grey, black, or transparent backgrounds but that green and grey backgrounds were associated with the smallest stress response to background change. These colors may therefore be recommended to reduce the impact of stress from disturbance. Full article
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Article
Access to Multiple Habitats Improves Welfare: A Case Study of Two Zoo-Housed Black Bears (Ursus americanus)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 87-98; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010010 - 31 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1786
Abstract
Using various forms of enrichment, animal care specialists encourage species-specific behaviors and discourage stereotypic behaviors. Within the zoo community, bears (Ursids spp.) are commonly housed, yet are prone to exhibiting stress-related behaviors. Here, we assess the effect of access to multiple habitats, [...] Read more.
Using various forms of enrichment, animal care specialists encourage species-specific behaviors and discourage stereotypic behaviors. Within the zoo community, bears (Ursids spp.) are commonly housed, yet are prone to exhibiting stress-related behaviors. Here, we assess the effect of access to multiple habitats, including areas of off guest view, on the welfare of two American black bears (U. americanus) housed at the North Carolina Zoo. In this study, we looked at two behaviors, pacing and foraging to represent negative and positive welfare indicators. We performed logistic regressions to model the effect of access on these behaviors. Because having an animal visible to guests is important to consider when creating management plans, we also explored the effect of access on the bears’ visibility. We found that full access reduced the likelihood of pacing by an average of 13% and increased the likelihood of foraging by an average of 5%. Access to multiple areas reduced the probability of visibility by 57% for one individual but did not impact visibility of the other bear. This case study suggests the value of access to zoo animal welfare and should incite future research aimed at exploring the effects of access on various behavioral outcomes. Full article
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Editorial
An Introduction to the Special Issue: “The Animals Will Play While the Visitors Are Away: What Happens When Zoos and Aquariums Are Closed to Visitors?”
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 82-86; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010009 - 23 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1371
Abstract
Zoos and aquariums are cultural institutions that rely on a steady stream of paying visitors, whose patronage comes in the form of admission fees or product sales, for their financial health, a condition that is vital to their continued delivery on the modern [...] Read more.
Zoos and aquariums are cultural institutions that rely on a steady stream of paying visitors, whose patronage comes in the form of admission fees or product sales, for their financial health, a condition that is vital to their continued delivery on the modern zoological mission, one that includes not only recreation but also conservation, education, and research [...] Full article
Article
Trainer Interaction Can Improve Welfare Outcomes of Toy Enrichment for Isolated Animals: A Case Study
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 72-81; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010008 - 18 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2288
Abstract
In cases where social animals must be temporarily housed alone, environmental enrichment is particularly important. Providing animals with manipulable objects (“toys”) is a common form of environmental enrichment, but its effectiveness can be limited by animal disinterest or habituation. The current study examined [...] Read more.
In cases where social animals must be temporarily housed alone, environmental enrichment is particularly important. Providing animals with manipulable objects (“toys”) is a common form of environmental enrichment, but its effectiveness can be limited by animal disinterest or habituation. The current study examined whether caregiver interaction could increase the effectiveness of object-based enrichment for a quarantined bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Behavioral observations were conducted after a training session, after a trainer toy play session, and between interactive sessions. The results showed that the dolphin floated in place less and played with toys more after interacting with a caregiver than he did at times further removed from caregiver interaction. He was also more likely to play with the same toys that the trainer had played with, showing effects of stimulus enhancement and/or social referencing. Although this study is, of necessity, based on a single animal of a single species, these findings suggest that interacting with a caregiver can enhance the efficacy of object-based environmental enrichment for isolated animals. Full article
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens in 2022
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 70-71; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010007 - 18 Jan 2023
Viewed by 399
Abstract
High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...] Full article
Review
The Societal Value of the Modern Zoo: A Commentary on How Zoos Can Positively Impact on Human Populations Locally and Globally
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 53-69; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010006 - 13 Jan 2023
Viewed by 5820
Abstract
Modern zoos and aquariums have evolved greatly since the end of the Second World War, to become centres of conservation excellence and scientific institutions for the study of animal behaviour, ecology, husbandry management. Whilst the impact of zoos and aquariums to biodiversity conservation, [...] Read more.
Modern zoos and aquariums have evolved greatly since the end of the Second World War, to become centres of conservation excellence and scientific institutions for the study of animal behaviour, ecology, husbandry management. Whilst the impact of zoos and aquariums to biodiversity conservation, population management and advancement of species care is well documented, their positive impacts on society (including the communities that they are located within) is less well known. The four established aims of the modern zoo—Conservation, Education, Recreation (Engagement) and Research—provide a strong foundation for wider review and critique of the societal value of zoos and aquariums. This article synthesises what such value may be, and how it could be measured, from a systematic review of the literature pertaining to each of these four established aims. It also recommends areas of future scientific inquiry to further study the wider impact of zoos on their local communities and on human populations and behaviour more generally. Including Wellbeing as a fifth aim of the modern zoo would also cement their wider societal value. Further scrutiny of the societal value of the modern zoo enhances the value of the zoo’s living collection and the green spaces that it manages to provide accessibility to biodiversity and nature-centric education essential to long-term, planetary friendly human behaviour change. Full article
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Editorial
Fundamental Knowledge on Forgotten Species: An Exploration of Data from Rarely Studied Captive Animals
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 50-52; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010005 - 09 Jan 2023
Viewed by 943
Abstract
Zoological institutions contribute a large amount of fundamental and applied knowledge on a diverse array of animal species [...] Full article
Article
Gorilla Activities and Social Behavior: Assessing Changes Associated with Absence of Zoo Visitors, Zoo Attendance, Time of Day and Increasing Maturity
by , and
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 39-49; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010004 - 05 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1186
Abstract
In this study we report on associations found between several variables and changes in gorilla behavior. Two groups of gorillas were observed, one was a family group and the other was a bachelor group. The zoo was closed to visitors for two periods [...] Read more.
In this study we report on associations found between several variables and changes in gorilla behavior. Two groups of gorillas were observed, one was a family group and the other was a bachelor group. The zoo was closed to visitors for two periods during the COVID-19 pandemic which made it possible to document any differences associated with the presence and absence of visitors. We also considered possible changes in behavior in relation to daily zoo attendance, time of day, and increasing maturity of group members. Output variables included six activities and one location which were assessed by instantaneous sampling, as well as level of aggressive and affiliative behavior assessed by recording all occurrences. Hour in which observations were done and successive months in the study, which serves as a measure of increasing maturity of younger gorillas, were the best predictors of activity and location, with each showing significant relationships with three output variables. Absence of visitors during zoo closure was also significantly associated with an increase in time the gorillas were proximate to potential visitor viewing areas. Aggression among the bachelors was lower when the zoo was closed and higher with maturation of the youngest male. Reviewing differences in level of aggression during the two periods of closure shows that decreased aggression among the bachelors was not a result of zoo closure. Full article
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Article
The Impacts of Evening Events in Zoos: A Christmas Event at Knowsley Safari
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 21-38; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010003 - 05 Jan 2023
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Abstract
It is important to examine the animal welfare implications of all aspects of zoo operations, including out-of-hours public events. Research to date has indicated variable responses across species and event types. The current research aimed to understand and quantify the impact of a [...] Read more.
It is important to examine the animal welfare implications of all aspects of zoo operations, including out-of-hours public events. Research to date has indicated variable responses across species and event types. The current research aimed to understand and quantify the impact of a Christmas lights event. Four species: Rothschild giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi; n = 2) in one exhibit and capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris; n = 4), lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris; n = 3) and vicuña (Lama vicugna; n = 5) in a mixed species exhibit were observed. Data were collected from 16:00–20:00 between 28 October 2021 and 11 January 2022. The event ran from mid-November to the end of December 2021. Five-minute behavioural observations were undertaken once per hour using instantaneous scan sampling with a one-minute inter-scan interval. A further six days of 12 h observations were conducted to enable a more detailed investigation post-event. Data collected were compared on non-event and event days using Mann–Whitney U tests (event vs. non-event) and Kruskal–Wallis tests (pre-event, event, post-event periods). Kruskal–Wallis tests and one-way ANOVAs were undertaken to compare behaviours during three time periods (12:00–16:00, 16:00–20:00, 20:00–00:00) over 12 h. Mixed behavioural responses were seen across the study species. Capybara spent more time in their house from 16:00–20:00 on event nights compared to non-event nights (p < 0.001) and tapir only engaged in vigilant behaviour from 16:00–20:00 when the event was held, (p = 0.044). There were no differences in frequency of behaviour between pre-event, event, and post-event observation periods, with the exception of capybara, who spent more time OOS in the pre-event period than during (p < 0.001) or after the event (p < 0.001). The results of the project, undertaken as part of an evidence-based management programme, highlighted that the event did not have any overtly negative impacts on the individuals studied. Except for the giraffe, all individuals had free access to inside and outside environments, and it is believed this choice enabled animals to be active in managing their response to the event. It is recommended that future work observe animals over 24 h to understand whether events lead to behavioural changes the day after events or if animals reverted to normal activity once the event ended. Full article
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Article
Effect of Prolonged Serum Storage Time and Varied Temperatures on Biochemical Values in African Savanna Elephants (Loxodonta africana)
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 12-20; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010002 - 05 Jan 2023
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Abstract
Blood samples are routinely collected from wild populations in remote locations with limited electricity, minimal diagnostic capabilities, and extreme environmental conditions. Under these conditions, serum samples may be stored for prolonged time under varied temperatures prior to processing, which could affect the ability [...] Read more.
Blood samples are routinely collected from wild populations in remote locations with limited electricity, minimal diagnostic capabilities, and extreme environmental conditions. Under these conditions, serum samples may be stored for prolonged time under varied temperatures prior to processing, which could affect the ability to interpretation the results. This study’s objective was to evaluate the effects of delayed processing of serum samples and varied storage temperatures on biochemical values in African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana). Blood samples were collected from six elephants managed by the North Carolina Zoo. For each elephant, seven red top tubes were collected. One serum sample for each elephant was analyzed on Day 0 (control group). The remaining samples were stored under different temperatures including room temperature (23 °C), refrigeration (2.2 °C), and incubation (32.2 °C), with samples from each temperature group being analyzed on Day 5 and Day 10. Many of analytes (10 out of 18) did not change significantly regardless of storage temperature or time. Refrigeration improved stability in an additional four analytes over prolonged storage. We conclude that if serum is properly separated shortly after collection, many serum biochemical analytes can be accurately measured even after suboptimal serum storage, but refrigeration and prompt evaluation are still required for some analytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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Article
Whole Blood Fatty Acid Profiles of Cold-Stunned Juvenile Green, Kemp’s Ridley, and Loggerhead Sea Turtles
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2023, 4(1), 1-11; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010001 - 26 Dec 2022
Viewed by 848
Abstract
When subjected to cold environmental temperatures, cheloniid sea turtles can experience debilitating lethargy, anorexia, and potential mortality in a phenomenon known as cold-stunning. Every year, hundreds to thousands of cold-stunned sea turtles are transported to rehabilitation centers for medical and nutritional care. The [...] Read more.
When subjected to cold environmental temperatures, cheloniid sea turtles can experience debilitating lethargy, anorexia, and potential mortality in a phenomenon known as cold-stunning. Every year, hundreds to thousands of cold-stunned sea turtles are transported to rehabilitation centers for medical and nutritional care. The objective of this study was to investigate one aspect of nutritional status in cold-stunned sea turtles: fatty acid profiles. Blood was collected from eleven green (Chelonia mydas), twelve Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), and three loggerhead (Caretta caretta) juvenile sea turtles found cold-stunned along the coast of North Carolina, USA. Whole blood (~160 µL) was dried onto specialized paper spot cards, frozen, and subsequently analyzed via gas chromatography to quantify fatty acid percentages. Significant differences among species were identified for 19 out of 36 individual fatty acids analyzed and six out of seven fatty acid groups evaluated (P < 0.5). The whole blood fatty acid profiles of cold-stunned green and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were similar to prior published profiles of healthy conspecifics. Marginal numerical differences noted upon visual comparison included that cold-stunned sea turtles had lower proportions of total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monoenes and higher proportions of total saturated fatty acids relative to healthy conspecifics. These differences may reflect acute impacts of cold-stunning on circulating plasma fatty acids or may be the result of natural seasonal variations. These data provide practical information to aid in the diet design of sea turtles in rehabilitation settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Techniques Used to Improve Animal Health and Welfare)
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