Behavioral Ecology of Captive Species: Using Behavioral Adaptations to Assess and Enhance Welfare of Nonhuman Zoo Animals

P. Koene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This project aimed to estimate a species' adaptations in nature and in captivity, assess welfare, suggest environmental changes, and find species characteristics that underlie welfare problems in nonhuman animals in the zoo. First, the current status of zoo animal welfare assessment was reviewed, and the behavioral ecology approach was outlined. In this approach, databases of species characteristics were developed using (a) literature of natural behavior and (b) captive behavior. Species characteristics were grouped in 8 functional behavioral ecological fitness-related categories: space, time, metabolic, safety, reproductive, comfort, social, and information adaptations. Assessments of the strength of behavioral adaptations in relation to environmental demands were made based on the results available from the literature. The databases with literature at the species level were coupled with databases of (c) behavioral observations and (d) welfare assessments under captive conditions. Observation and welfare assessment methods were adapted from the animal on the farm realm and applied to zoo species. It was expected that the comparison of the repertoire of behaviors in natural and captive environments would highlight welfare problems, provide solutions to welfare problems by environmental changes, and identify species characteristics underlying zoo animal welfare problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-380
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • reintroduction programs
  • natural behavior
  • breeding success
  • conservation
  • stress
  • wild
  • farm
  • population
  • management
  • elephants

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