Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Welfare".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2023) | Viewed by 73489

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Miller Veterinary Services, LLC, Loveland, CO, USA
Interests: animal welfare; epidemiology; One Health; wildlife disease; wildlife management and conservation; structured decision making

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Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, USA
Interests: bioethical analysis; practical philosophy (especially veterinary, animal, biomedical, food, environmental and agricultural ethics), philosophy of technology; science-ethics communication, One Health; veterinary ethics; disaster/emergency ethics

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Guest Editor
Dolphin Communication Project, Port Saint Lucie, PO Box 7485, FL 34984, USA
Interests: dolphin behavior; acoustics; communication; cognition; zoo and aquarium welfare assessment; animal behavior

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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, St. Mary’s University, 1 Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228, USA
Interests: animal behavior; marine mammal behavior and cognition; human psychology

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Guest Editor
College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ 85017, USA
Interests: nature; pets; animal training; welfare; research and education; sustainability; zoo animal advocacy; zoo politics and legislation;

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The zoo and aquarium community has increasingly accepted a stewardship role, one that both entails addressing animal welfare and behavior concerns that exceed basic husbandry needs, while also meeting conservation objectives. Our objective for this Special Issue of Animals on zoo and aquarium animal behavior, welfare, and ethics is to compile current science-informed best practices and ethics in a single reference. We also hope to inspire further advances and address public expectations of zoos and aquariums in society.

The scope of this special journal edition of Animals includes overviews and original research papers that rigorously assess zoo and aquarium behavior, welfare and ethics. These will include reflections on past practices and discussions of how and where further improvements should be directed. We encourage collaborative efforts, international authors, and articles from geographically underrepresented contributors that address the needs of invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals alike.

We greatly appreciate the generous support of American Humane, Dolphin Quest, Loro Parque Fundacion, and Sea World in contributing major funding to underwrite this special edition.

Dr. David S. Miller
Prof. Dr. Ray Anthony
Dr. Kathleen M. Dudzinski
Prof. Dr. Heather Hill
Dr. Grey Stafford
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • animal ethics
  • animal welfare
  • animal behavior
  • conservation
  • stakeholder interests
  • zoo
  • aquarium

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

24 pages, 319 KiB  
Article
A Reexamination of the Relationship between Training Practices and Welfare in the Management of Ambassador Animals
by Steve Martin, Grey Stafford and David S. Miller
Animals 2024, 14(5), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14050736 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 3570
Abstract
There is an ethical need to document and develop best practices for meeting ambassador animals’ welfare needs within the context of meeting zoo and aquarium program objectives. This is because ambassador animals experience direct and frequent contact with humans. This paper rigorously synthesizes [...] Read more.
There is an ethical need to document and develop best practices for meeting ambassador animals’ welfare needs within the context of meeting zoo and aquarium program objectives. This is because ambassador animals experience direct and frequent contact with humans. This paper rigorously synthesizes behavioral research and theory, contemporary practices, and personal experiences to offer key concepts that can be applied to meet ambassador animal welfare needs. These key concepts include addressing an animal’s recognition of choice and control, the use of the most positive and least intrusive effective interventions when training animals to participate in programming, and an overall reduction in aversive strategy use. Our model for increasing ambassador animal welfare focuses on seven main areas of concern, including the following: choosing the most suitable animal for the program; choosing the human with the right skills and knowledge for the program; using the most positive, least intrusive, effective training methods; developing a strong trusting relationship between trainer and animal; developing a comprehensive enrichment program; the need for institutional support; and creating opportunities for animals to practice species-appropriate behaviors. Our model will provide guidelines for improved ambassador animal welfare that can be refined with future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
14 pages, 641 KiB  
Article
Skepticism in the Early Stage of the Introduction of Environmental Enrichment in Japanese Zoos
by Kazuhiko Ota and Saika Yamazaki
Animals 2024, 14(2), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020309 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 971
Abstract
This study examines the Japanese zoo staff’s initial skepticism and bewilderment regarding animal welfare and environmental enrichment in the mid-1990s. Utilizing a 2001 questionnaire conducted by the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and existing literature reveals that this resistance stemmed from inadequate [...] Read more.
This study examines the Japanese zoo staff’s initial skepticism and bewilderment regarding animal welfare and environmental enrichment in the mid-1990s. Utilizing a 2001 questionnaire conducted by the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and existing literature reveals that this resistance stemmed from inadequate information, cultural history, and legal perspectives on animal care. Specifically, environmental enrichment was initially misunderstood as an exhibition strategy, partly due to post-WWII trends in mobile zoos and legal views of animals as non-sentient under Japan’s Animal Protection Law. The research highlights the early hurdles in adopting animal welfare and environmental enrichment in non-Western settings, aiming to provide insights for other regions dealing with similar transitional challenges. It also addresses misperceptions about environmental enrichment in the context of empathetic relationships and professional ethics in Japanese zoology, offering insights into regions facing similar issues. Additionally, the paper discusses the progression of animal welfare practices in Japanese zoos and related managerial challenges, acknowledging cultural and institutional factors. Despite regional differences, this study aims to contribute to understanding and improving the universal acceptance and application of animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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29 pages, 5325 KiB  
Article
Sensory Stimulation as a Means of Sustained Enhancement of Well-Being in Leopard Geckos, Eublepharis macularius (Eublepharidae, Squamata)
by Frank Krönke and Lisa Xu
Animals 2023, 13(23), 3595; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13233595 - 21 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2330
Abstract
Although the private keeping of reptiles has boomed in most western countries since the millennium, studies dealing with the recognition and promotion of welfare in these reptiles seem to represent a blind spot of scientific attention. The vast majority of studies from the [...] Read more.
Although the private keeping of reptiles has boomed in most western countries since the millennium, studies dealing with the recognition and promotion of welfare in these reptiles seem to represent a blind spot of scientific attention. The vast majority of studies from the field of animal welfare science still concern mammals and birds. The leopard gecko is probably the most common lizard that is kept in domestic terrariums worldwide. Due to its characteristic as an ecological generalist, it is easy to keep and breed, and it is considered a good “starter reptile” for beginners as it “condones” husbandry mistakes, even for extended periods. However, being a mass species is not a second-class classification. They, too, have an equal claim to good well-being as all animals in human care. The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis of whether an increase in stimulus density leads to an increase in activity and behavioural diversity and, thus, an increase in welfare. For this purpose, 18 leopard geckos were fed insects that were ≤1 cm in size, and both the quantity and quality of behaviour was documented and analysed in the pre-intervention, intervention and post-intervention stages. In addition, it was of interest whether behavioural indicators could be identified that indicate a state of positive well-being. The results showed that this type of enrichment led to a quantitative doubling of the activity levels from the baseline (total of 12,519 behavioural elements) to the intervention (total of 25,366 behavioural elements). And even 11 months after the introduction of small insect feeding (post-intervention total of 23,267 behavioural elements), the activity level was still significantly increased. The behavioural diversity, as the absolute number of behavioural categories across all 18 leopard geckos, also increased, although less than the behavioural intensity, between the baseline (5507 behavioural categories) and intervention (6451 behavioural categories) and between the baseline and post-intervention (6079 behavioural categories). The results clearly show that feeding small insects to leopard geckos is a very efficient tool to increase the welfare of leopard geckos. Attractively, this feeding regime can be implemented by any leopard gecko keeper without significant additional cost or time, and therefore, these methods have a potentially high impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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13 pages, 1187 KiB  
Article
Aquarium Visitors Catch Some Rays: Rays Are More Active in the Presence of More Visitors
by Jordyn Truax, Jennifer Vonk, Eness Meri and Sandra M. Troxell-Smith
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3526; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223526 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1394
Abstract
Humans are a constant in the lives of captive animals, but the effects of human–animal interactions vary. Research on the welfare impacts of human–animal interactions focus predominantly on mammals, whereas fish have been overlooked. To address this lack of research, we assessed the [...] Read more.
Humans are a constant in the lives of captive animals, but the effects of human–animal interactions vary. Research on the welfare impacts of human–animal interactions focus predominantly on mammals, whereas fish have been overlooked. To address this lack of research, we assessed the impacts of aquarium visitors on the behaviors of ten members of four elasmobranch species: an Atlantic stingray (Dasyatis sabina), four southern stingrays (Hypanus americanus), two blue-spotted maskrays (Neotrygon kuhlii), and three fiddler rays (Trygonorrhina dumerilii). The rays engaged in a significantly higher proportion of active behaviors and a lower proportion of inactive behaviors when visitor density levels were high; however, there were no significant changes for negative or social behaviors. Individual analyses indicated that all three fiddler rays and one of the southern stingrays’ active behaviors differed across visitor density levels, whereas there was no association between active behavior and visitor density levels for the other rays. Further research is needed to determine whether this pattern is an adaptive or maladaptive response to visitors, but this research provides much needed initial data on activity budgets within elasmobranch species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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11 pages, 778 KiB  
Article
Modification of Domestic Animal Lameness Scales for Use in Asiatic Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus)
by Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, Jamie Y. Nakatani and David S. Miller
Animals 2023, 13(21), 3302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13213302 - 24 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1463
Abstract
Lameness in animals is a welfare concern as it can be an indicator of pain. A standardized bear lameness scale would significantly improve the ability of facilities that house bears to monitor, manage, and treat lameness in their animals. The Animals Asia bear [...] Read more.
Lameness in animals is a welfare concern as it can be an indicator of pain. A standardized bear lameness scale would significantly improve the ability of facilities that house bears to monitor, manage, and treat lameness in their animals. The Animals Asia bear rescue center in Vietnam holds over 180 rescued bears with varying health and mobility conditions as a result of the illegal bear bile trade, and a reliable lameness assessment system was needed. Bear locomotion includes a lumbering gait, which differs from domestic animal locomotion, necessitating the modification of domestic animal lameness scales, and a five-point lameness scale was developed. Professionals from various veterinary-related backgrounds scored bear lameness videos to assess interobserver reliability and the intraclass correlation coefficient indicated good to excellent reliability. A 15-min training video with examples of lameness and grades was provided before assessment. The lameness scale developed herein addresses the lack of a published lameness scale for bears, and, due to the similar locomotion of the genus, can be used on any bear species. This scale is a consistent and reliable tool for evaluating and documenting lameness in addition to monitoring response to treatment. It will benefit bear welfare by indirectly characterizing the level of pain a bear is experiencing due to lameness as well as serving to document trends in pain status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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12 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
Fish Welfare in Public Aquariums and Zoological Collections
by Stephen A. Smith
Animals 2023, 13(16), 2548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13162548 - 8 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2802
Abstract
A wide variety of fish species have been displayed in public aquariums and zoological collections for over 150 years. Though the issue of pain perception in fish is still being debated, there is no disagreement that negative impacts on their welfare can significantly [...] Read more.
A wide variety of fish species have been displayed in public aquariums and zoological collections for over 150 years. Though the issue of pain perception in fish is still being debated, there is no disagreement that negative impacts on their welfare can significantly affect their health and wellbeing. A general description of the basic biological requirements for maintaining fish in captive environments is presented, but species-specific information and guidelines should be developed for the multitude of species being maintained. A combination of behavioral, performance, and physiological indicators can be used to assess the well-being of these animals. Ultimately, the goal for optimizing the welfare of fish should be to provide the best possible environment, husbandry, and social interactions to promote natural species-specific behaviors of the fish in captivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
15 pages, 1009 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Cortisol Concentrations in Different Matrices in Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex) at the Zoo
by Marjan Kastelic, Gordana Gregurić Gračner, Iztok Tomažič, Pavel Kvapil, Mojca Harej and Alenka Dovč
Animals 2023, 13(15), 2491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13152491 - 2 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1040
Abstract
The usefulness of blood collection using venipuncture versus kissing bugs or medicinal leeches and the collection of saliva, faeces, hair, urine, and tears for measuring “immunoreactive” C (iC) concentration in Alpine ibexes was verified using commercial enzyme immunoassays. The mean value of serum [...] Read more.
The usefulness of blood collection using venipuncture versus kissing bugs or medicinal leeches and the collection of saliva, faeces, hair, urine, and tears for measuring “immunoreactive” C (iC) concentration in Alpine ibexes was verified using commercial enzyme immunoassays. The mean value of serum C was highest in serum collected using venipuncture and lowest in serums collected using kissing bugs. Statistically significant differences were observed between venipuncture and kissing bugs and between leeches and kissing bugs. However, no statistically significant difference was found in C concentrations between samples collected with venipuncture and those collected with leeches. The highest mean value of C concentration was measured in serum (all three methods), followed by that in hair and faeces, and the lowest mean value was found in saliva. Statistically significant differences were found between saliva and faeces samples and between saliva and hair samples. The difference between the concentrations for faeces and hair was not statistically significant. A significant difference in C concentration between males and females was found in saliva. A significant difference in C concentration among different ages was measured in serum obtained using venipuncture in all three groups and in faeces between the groups older than ten years and younger than 10 months. Highly significant differences in C concentrations were also found between hair sampled in summer and hair sampled in autumn. Collecting tear and urine samples is a laborious procedure and is therefore less acceptable for C determination. Due to the small number of samples, statistical values are not given for these two matrices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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23 pages, 2918 KiB  
Article
The Integrated Effect of Environmental Conditions and Human Presence on the Behaviour of a Pair of Zoo-Housed Asian Small-Clawed Otters
by Francesca Bandoli, Jenny Mace and Andrew Knight
Animals 2023, 13(13), 2228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13132228 - 6 Jul 2023
Viewed by 3116
Abstract
Zoos and aquaria have the ethical responsibility to provide animals under their care with conditions that promote good welfare. This study evaluated the combined influence of human presence and environmental factors on the behaviour of zoo-housed Asian small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus). [...] Read more.
Zoos and aquaria have the ethical responsibility to provide animals under their care with conditions that promote good welfare. This study evaluated the combined influence of human presence and environmental factors on the behaviour of zoo-housed Asian small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus). Data collection was conducted on a pair hosted at Pistoia Zoo (Italy). Data were collected from July to September 2020 (over 14 days). We video-recorded the otters’ behaviours, using the continuous focal animal sampling, obtaining 42 h of observation per subject. The otters displayed a wide array of species-specific behaviours. Compared to previous captive studies, the subjects engaged less in locomotion, food-related and affiliative behaviours, and more in vigilance. Human–animal interactions were limited, and mostly elicited neutral or positive responses, except for begging behaviours performed towards caregivers. Time of day and animal identity were the main significant predictors for behaviours. No effects of visitor presence or background noise were detected. Nonetheless, increasing enrichment use could stimulate food-related behaviours, and reduce vigilance and begging. This study confirms the importance of applying an integrated approach to analyse the complexity of otters’ experiences, and provides insights to guide husbandry improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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17 pages, 1642 KiB  
Article
Understanding Job Satisfaction and Occupational Stressors of Distinctive Roles in Zoos and Aquariums
by Sabrina Brando, Patrícia Rachinas-Lopes, Vinícius Donisete Lima Rodrigues Goulart and Lynette A. Hart
Animals 2023, 13(12), 2018; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13122018 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2453
Abstract
For professionals caring for humans or non-human animals, many joys are to be found in working towards what an individual believes to be their calling, especially as they contribute to purposeful, meaningful work consistent with and intrinsic to their own values and beliefs. [...] Read more.
For professionals caring for humans or non-human animals, many joys are to be found in working towards what an individual believes to be their calling, especially as they contribute to purposeful, meaningful work consistent with and intrinsic to their own values and beliefs. However, there can be downfalls. Empathic strain, conflict between co-workers, dissatisfaction with upper management, lack of opportunities to make positive changes, limited or no access to level and experience-appropriate professional development, and other stressors are all risks carried by organisations concerned with animal welfare. In the present study, a survey on job satisfaction and workplace stressors was completed by 311 zoo and aquarium professionals working in a range of roles from junior animal care staff to curator. Respondent profiles were created using Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) and four distinct clusters were identified through Hierarchical Clustering on Principal Components (HCPC), highlighting common themes in different levels of experience and in job roles regarding stressors, satisfaction, and feelings about their work and workplaces. Overall, many zoo professionals were concerned with lacking the ability to feel empowered to do their best for animal welfare, and they described a link between the staff welfare and their perceptions of the welfare of the animals they cared for. Through identifying and understanding where organisations can better support their staff it is possible to target and reduce the number of common stressors faced by zoo professionals, leading to increased staff retention, higher job satisfaction, and an improved ability to perform at their best for animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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10 pages, 223 KiB  
Article
Towards a Futureproof Zoo
by Jozef Keulartz
Animals 2023, 13(6), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13060998 - 9 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3468
Abstract
To develop an adequate ethical framework for a futureproof zoo, we have to employ what I would call a ‘bifocal’ view, in which zoo animals are seen simultaneously as individuals in need of specific care and as members of a species in need [...] Read more.
To develop an adequate ethical framework for a futureproof zoo, we have to employ what I would call a ‘bifocal’ view, in which zoo animals are seen simultaneously as individuals in need of specific care and as members of a species in need of protection. From such a bifocal view, the zoo’s policy should aim to strike a fair, morally acceptable balance between its effort to ensure the welfare of individual animals and its obligation to contribute to species conservation. I will argue that the prospects of the zoo to achieve such a balance are promising. Since early 21st century, zoos have made serious and sustained efforts to ensure and enhance animal welfare. The zoo’s huge animal welfare concerns are reflected in the development of animal enrichment programs and the increased use of training technics. At the same time, the zoo’s contribution to species conservation has also improved considerably. Zoos have found solutions for the problems created by their lack of space, such as innovative enclosure designs, specialization, regional and global cooperation, the interactive exchange of in situ and ex situ populations, and the shift away from large charismatic mammals towards smaller species. Zoos have also improved their conservation performance by broadening their conservationist role to include research, training, education, awareness campaigns, and direct financial and technical support for in situ projects. I will occasionally illustrate certain developments using examples drawn from ARTIS Zoo, the fifth oldest zoo in the world, located in the centre of my hometown Amsterdam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

26 pages, 4082 KiB  
Review
The Cetacean Sanctuary: A Sea of Unknowns
by Jason N. Bruck
Animals 2024, 14(2), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020335 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 5509
Abstract
Housing cetaceans in netted sea pens is not new and is common for many accredited managed-care facilities. Hence, the distinction between sanctuary and sea pen is more about the philosophies of those who run these sanctuary facilities, the effects of these philosophies on [...] Read more.
Housing cetaceans in netted sea pens is not new and is common for many accredited managed-care facilities. Hence, the distinction between sanctuary and sea pen is more about the philosophies of those who run these sanctuary facilities, the effects of these philosophies on the animals’ welfare, and how proponents of these sanctuaries fund the care of these animals. Here, I consider what plans exist for cetacean sanctuaries and discuss the caveats and challenges associated with this form of activist-managed captivity. One goal for stakeholders should be to disregard the emotional connotations of the word “sanctuary” and explore these proposals objectively with the best interest of the animals in mind. Another focus should be related to gauging the public’s understanding of proposed welfare benefits to determine if long-term supporters of donation-based sanctuary models will likely see their expectations met as NGOs and their government partners consider moving forward with cetacean sanctuary experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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21 pages, 1016 KiB  
Review
Quality-of-Life Assessments in Zoo Animals: Not Just for the Aged and Charismatic
by Michelle Campbell-Ward
Animals 2023, 13(21), 3394; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13213394 - 1 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2977
Abstract
Zoos should aim to provide all of their animals with a good quality of life (QoL) throughout all life stages. In parallel with the evolution of QoL assessment questionnaires and tools in human and domestic animal settings, in recent times, some individual zoos [...] Read more.
Zoos should aim to provide all of their animals with a good quality of life (QoL) throughout all life stages. In parallel with the evolution of QoL assessment questionnaires and tools in human and domestic animal settings, in recent times, some individual zoos and zoo industry associations have incorporated such instruments into their animal management practices. This has been conducted predominantly to inform, monitor, and document end-of-life decision-making for large, charismatic mammals. There is scope to expand the use of these tools to improve their utility, validity, reliability, and value to an animal welfare program. Assessment of QoL is a complex task given that the notion being measured is abstract and self-determined, and the design and purpose of the tools to do this require careful consideration. This review explores the QoL concept as it applies to animals, the assessment indications and methodologies relevant to a zoo setting, and the importance of considering QoL at any life stage across species. An overview of current thinking and the applications and limitations of QoL evaluation of captive wild animals is offered to promote and aid facility practice reviews and to help direct future innovations that leverage concurrent and converging advances in zoo animal welfare science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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28 pages, 14982 KiB  
Review
Aquatic and Terrestrial Invertebrate Welfare
by Gregory A. Lewbart and Trevor T. Zachariah
Animals 2023, 13(21), 3375; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13213375 - 31 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2683
Abstract
Invertebrates are a diverse group of animals that make up the majority of the animal kingdom and encompass a wide array of species with varying adaptations and characteristics. Invertebrates are found in nearly all of the world’s habitats, including aquatic, marine, and terrestrial [...] Read more.
Invertebrates are a diverse group of animals that make up the majority of the animal kingdom and encompass a wide array of species with varying adaptations and characteristics. Invertebrates are found in nearly all of the world’s habitats, including aquatic, marine, and terrestrial environments. There are many misconceptions about invertebrate sentience, welfare requirements, the need for environmental enrichment, and overall care and husbandry for this amazing group of animals. This review addresses these topics and more for a select group of invertebrates with biomedical, economical, display, and human companionship importance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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13 pages, 1299 KiB  
Review
Manatees in Zoological Parks throughout the World: History, State, and Welfare
by Yann Henaut and Fabienne Delfour
Animals 2023, 13(20), 3228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13203228 - 16 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2558
Abstract
The order Sirenia comprises several species of manatees and one species of dugong. These popular marine mammals are relatively recent acquisitions to zoological parks throughout the world. As far as we know, there are less than 200 manatees, mostly American, a few African, [...] Read more.
The order Sirenia comprises several species of manatees and one species of dugong. These popular marine mammals are relatively recent acquisitions to zoological parks throughout the world. As far as we know, there are less than 200 manatees, mostly American, a few African, and ever less Amazonian, currently in zoological parks. American manatees are predominantly found in zoos in Europe, North America, and in some Asian countries, while African ones are present exclusively in Asian zoos. The living conditions of captive manatees differ considerably from zoo to zoo (i.e., numbers, sex ratio, outdoor vs. indoor habitats, complex vs. simple habitats). Most research on manatee behaviour has been relatively recent, and studies on cognition, sociality, and ecology have a significant impact on our perception of manatee needs and management, with wider implications for their welfare. In the wild, manatees demonstrated various cognitive capacities; spatial memory and learning abilities play an important role in their daily life in a complex and dynamic environment. Furthermore, there is evidence that these mammals are more social animals than expected. Individuals show various personality traits on the boldness–shyness continuum and their sociality varies. All those parameters are important in terms of animal welfare. Several behavioural studies showed that standardized enrichment programs benefit and ensure the welfare of captive zoo animals. However, obtaining accurate information on the presence of manatees in zoos, living conditions, management, and consequently welfare remains challenging. This study examines the current knowledge on manatee behaviour and cognition and then discusses different approaches to improving the welfare of this charismatic marine mammal in zoological parks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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14 pages, 336 KiB  
Review
Are Dolphins Kept in Impoverished Environments?
by Kelly Jaakkola
Animals 2023, 13(17), 2707; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13172707 - 25 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5320
Abstract
Numerous studies have demonstrated the negative effects of impoverished environments versus the positive effects of enriched environments on animals’ cognitive and neural functioning. Recently, a hypothesis was raised suggesting that conditions for dolphins in zoological facilities may be inherently impoverished, and thus lead [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the negative effects of impoverished environments versus the positive effects of enriched environments on animals’ cognitive and neural functioning. Recently, a hypothesis was raised suggesting that conditions for dolphins in zoological facilities may be inherently impoverished, and thus lead to neural and cognitive deficits. This review directly examines that hypothesis in light of the existing scientific literature relevant to dolphin welfare in zoological facilities. Specifically, it examines how dolphins are housed in modern zoological facilities, where the characteristics of such housing fall on the continuum of impoverished-to-enriched environments, and the extent to which dolphins show behavioral evidence characteristic of living in impoverished environments. The results of this analysis show that contrary to the original hypothesis, modern zoological facilities do not inherently, or even typically, house dolphins in impoverished conditions. However, it also notes that there is variation in animal welfare across different zoological facilities, and that “not impoverished” would be a particularly low bar to set as an animal welfare standard. To optimize cognitive well-being, strategies for providing additional cognitive challenges for dolphins in zoological facilities are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
11 pages, 1339 KiB  
Review
The Role of Preventative Medicine Programs in Animal Welfare and Wellbeing in Zoological Institutions
by Paolo Martelli and Karthiyani Krishnasamy
Animals 2023, 13(14), 2299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13142299 - 13 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1549
Abstract
The overarching goal of a preventative medicine program is to minimize the chances of health problems developing and to maximize the chances of detecting health problems early, in a manner that best benefits the animals and the organization. The traditional paradigms of animal [...] Read more.
The overarching goal of a preventative medicine program is to minimize the chances of health problems developing and to maximize the chances of detecting health problems early, in a manner that best benefits the animals and the organization. The traditional paradigms of animal welfare, stemming from the five freedoms and being progressively fleshed out to five domains, the 24/7 approach and so forth do not apply perfectly to zoological collections and less so to animals undergoing veterinary treatments. The physiology and behaviour of animals undergoing veterinary treatments, including therapeutic, quarantine and preventative medicine, are derailed from their normal states and their choices and comfort are de facto limited. A paradigm separating animal wellbeing from animal welfare is necessary to instil clarity of thought and to guide actions in regard to the welfare of animals under human care. Using such a model, preventative medicine programs emerge as a cornerstone of zoo and aquarium animal welfare, all the more if it incorporates modern veterinary and husbandry techniques, including operant conditioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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17 pages, 3065 KiB  
Review
Acoustic Monitoring of Professionally Managed Marine Mammals for Health and Welfare Insights
by Kelley A. Winship and Brittany L. Jones
Animals 2023, 13(13), 2124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13132124 - 27 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2005
Abstract
Research evaluating marine mammal welfare and opportunities for advancements in the care of species housed in a professional facility have rapidly increased in the past decade. While topics, such as comfortable housing, adequate social opportunities, stimulating enrichment, and a high standard of medical [...] Read more.
Research evaluating marine mammal welfare and opportunities for advancements in the care of species housed in a professional facility have rapidly increased in the past decade. While topics, such as comfortable housing, adequate social opportunities, stimulating enrichment, and a high standard of medical care, have continued to receive attention from managers and scientists, there is a lack of established acoustic consideration for monitoring the welfare of these animals. Marine mammals rely on sound production and reception for navigation and communication. Regulations governing anthropogenic sound production in our oceans have been put in place by many countries around the world, largely based on the results of research with managed and trained animals, due to the potential negative impacts that unrestricted noise can have on marine mammals. However, there has not been an established best practice for the acoustic welfare monitoring of marine mammals in professional care. By monitoring animal hearing and vocal behavior, a more holistic view of animal welfare can be achieved through the early detection of anthropogenic sound sources, the acoustic behavior of the animals, and even the features of the calls. In this review, the practice of monitoring cetacean acoustic welfare through behavioral hearing tests and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs), passive acoustic monitoring, such as the Welfare Acoustic Monitoring System (WAMS), as well as ideas for using advanced technologies for utilizing vocal biomarkers of health are introduced and reviewed as opportunities for integration into marine mammal welfare plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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20 pages, 351 KiB  
Review
Zoo Animal Welfare Assessment: Where Do We Stand?
by Oriol Tallo-Parra, Marina Salas and Xavier Manteca
Animals 2023, 13(12), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13121966 - 12 Jun 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6584
Abstract
Zoological institutions, such as zoos and aquariums, have made animal welfare a top priority, as it is not only a moral obligation but also crucial for fulfilling their roles in education and conservation. There is a need for science-based tools to assess and [...] Read more.
Zoological institutions, such as zoos and aquariums, have made animal welfare a top priority, as it is not only a moral obligation but also crucial for fulfilling their roles in education and conservation. There is a need for science-based tools to assess and monitor animal welfare in these settings. However, assessing the welfare of zoo animals is challenging due to the diversity of species and lack of knowledge on their specific needs. This review aims to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of existing methodologies for assessing zoo animal welfare through: (1) A critical analysis of the main approaches to zoo animal welfare assessment; (2) A description of the most relevant animal-based welfare indicators for zoo animals with a particular focus on behavioural and physiological indicators; and (3) An identification of areas that require further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
37 pages, 3884 KiB  
Review
Interrupted Lives: Welfare Considerations in Wildlife Rehabilitation
by Michelle Willette, Nicki Rosenhagen, Gail Buhl, Charles Innis and Jeff Boehm
Animals 2023, 13(11), 1836; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13111836 - 1 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4266
Abstract
Each year in the United States, thousands of sick, injured, or displaced wild animals are presented to individuals or organizations who have either a federal or state permit that allows them to care for these animals with the goal of releasing them back [...] Read more.
Each year in the United States, thousands of sick, injured, or displaced wild animals are presented to individuals or organizations who have either a federal or state permit that allows them to care for these animals with the goal of releasing them back to the wild. The purpose of this review is to demonstrate the complexity of considerations rehabilitators and veterinarians face while trying to optimize the welfare of wild animals in need of care and rehabilitation. The process of rehabilitation is inherently stressful for wildlife. Maintaining an animal’s welfare during the rehabilitation process—from initial contact and tria+ge to the animal’s euthanasia, release, or captive placement—requires deliberate, timely and humane decision making. The welfare of wild animals can be improved by preventing human-related causes of admission, providing resources and support for wildlife rehabilitation (almost all rehabilitation in the United States is privately funded and access to veterinary care is often limited); further developing evidence-based wildlife rehabilitation methods and welfare measures, attracting more veterinary professionals to the field, harmonizing regulatory oversight with standards of care, training, and accountability, and increasing public education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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14 pages, 259 KiB  
Commentary
Legal Personhood for Animals: Has Science Made Its Case?
by Michelle C. Pardo
Animals 2023, 13(14), 2339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13142339 - 18 Jul 2023
Viewed by 4881
Abstract
The use of Latin in identifying an organism’s genus and species is likely familiar to scientists and zoological professionals, but a traditional legal doctrine, known as habeas corpus (meaning “you have the body”) may not have obvious applicability to nonhumans in the animal [...] Read more.
The use of Latin in identifying an organism’s genus and species is likely familiar to scientists and zoological professionals, but a traditional legal doctrine, known as habeas corpus (meaning “you have the body”) may not have obvious applicability to nonhumans in the animal kingdom. In recent years, animal rights organizations have utilized the habeas corpus doctrine as a basis to bring legal challenges on behalf of nonhuman animals to expand “legal personhood” to them. These lawsuits, which have focused on species such as nonhuman primates and elephants, seek to challenge the “confinement” of animals in zoological institutions and by private owners, much like a prisoner or other detainee. The small but vocal animal legal personhood movement bases its argument on the fact that elephants and nonhuman primates are highly sentient and have complex cognitive characteristics. Proponents of legal personhood for animals have argued that the common law has progressed and expanded over the years as societal norms and conditions have changed and, much like the law has expanded to afford women and persons of color legal rights and protections, so should the law expand to treat animals the same as humans. Despite these efforts, to date, no court in the United States has accepted this invitation. This article summarizes key legal challenges and decisions to date in the United States, examines how science and societal conditions have influenced the law, and analyzes the reasons why legal personhood for animals so far has been viewed as a “bridge too far” in the American legal system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
8 pages, 220 KiB  
Commentary
Beyond the Five Freedoms: Animal Welfare at Modern Zoological Facilities
by Lance J. Miller and Sathya K. Chinnadurai
Animals 2023, 13(11), 1818; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13111818 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2637
Abstract
The current manuscript highlights the aspects of an animal welfare program for a modern zoological facility. The program should be proactive to identify areas for continuous improvement as well as reactive to address any identified animal welfare concerns. The program should go beyond [...] Read more.
The current manuscript highlights the aspects of an animal welfare program for a modern zoological facility. The program should be proactive to identify areas for continuous improvement as well as reactive to address any identified animal welfare concerns. The program should go beyond the five freedoms and utilize one of the more modern frameworks as a foundation for the program. The program should have an animal welfare committee where staff can submit animal welfare concerns without fear of retaliation. Ongoing monitoring of all individual animals should utilize both positive and negative indicators of welfare. Staff should be trained on the most current science and be able to understand key concepts about animal welfare. Facilities should also utilize new scientific findings to continuously improve animal care practices. Modern zoological institutions, including both zoos and aquariums, have an ethical responsibility to provide high levels of animal welfare for the animals under their professional care. Simply meeting minimum standards developed decades ago is not adequate, as animals should have the opportunity to thrive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
12 pages, 429 KiB  
Commentary
Integrating Individual Animal and Population Welfare in Zoos and Aquariums
by Louis DiVincenti, Jr., Allen McDowell and Elizabeth S. Herrelko
Animals 2023, 13(10), 1577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13101577 - 9 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2788
Abstract
Over the last 50 years, animal welfare science has advanced dramatically, especially in zoos and aquariums. A shifting focus from population-level welfare parameters such as reproductive success and longevity (macroscopic, big-picture concepts) to the subjective experience of individual animals (microscopic, focused concepts) has [...] Read more.
Over the last 50 years, animal welfare science has advanced dramatically, especially in zoos and aquariums. A shifting focus from population-level welfare parameters such as reproductive success and longevity (macroscopic, big-picture concepts) to the subjective experience of individual animals (microscopic, focused concepts) has led to more effective animal welfare assessments and improvements in animal welfare. The interplay between individual animal and population welfare for captive animals is critical to the way zoos and aquariums operate to realize their welfare and conservation missions, especially when these missions conflict with one another. In this report, we explore the intersection of individual animal and population welfare in zoos and aquariums and how these two concepts may support one another or be in conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior)
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