Managing dolphins under human care the zoo point of view

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1 Niels van Elk / Marine Biologist and Veterinarian at Dolfinarium Harderwijk/ EAZA Bottlenose dolphin EEP coordinator: Managing dolphins under human care the zoo point of view

2 Cetaceans are the perfect ambassadors for an environment seriously threatened Appeal to our conscience to act not only in our own but also in their interest

3 This presentation Main topic: assesment of bottlenose dolphin welfare But also: Zoo mission and Zoo quality control Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

4 In the European Union 28 zoos hold bottlenose dolphins All zoos operate under a license according to the EU Zoo directive and are subject to the control and regulation of national authorities Of the 28 zoos, 14 are members of EAZA and 19 are member of EAAM (13 are member of both EAAM and EAZA) 20 million people per year visit a cetacean holding facility in Europe All institutes cooperate in the population management program EEP under supervision of EAZA Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

5 European Association of Zoos and Aquaria 345 members in 40 countries (close to 200 members based in the European Union) EAZA s mission is to facilitate cooperation within the European zoo and aquarium community with the aim of furthering its professional quality in keeping animals and presenting them for the education of the public, and of contributing to scientific research and to the conservation of global biodiversity. More on EAZA s Codes, Professional Standards and Activities please refer to Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

6 EAZA and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAAM) Bound by a memorandum of understanding and a strongly overlapping membership In Europe 19 EAAM members, 13 are also EAZA member. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

7 Accreditation and inspection 1.Extensive questionnaire 2.Desk top screening 3.Onsite visit 4.Full accreditation, conditioonal accreditation or refusal 5.Similar S&G 6.EAAM accreditation upon application for membership and once every five years Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

8 European Association for Aquatic Mammals Safeguard Quality of zoos (going beyond legal requirements) Standards and Guidelines (see: -Acquisition and disposition Collection management Training Veterinary care Education Enclosure and spatial requirements Husbandry Water and environmental quality Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

9 Animal welfare is crucial and essential for zoos! Assessing animal welfare must be done according to professional and scientific methodologies; a complex and important task. The main four methods are: 1. Assess behaviour 2. Assess human animal relation 3. Assess population health (longevity, reproductive succes) 4. Hormonal studies Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

10 The Human Animal relation between dolphins and man is extremely good Training based on: -Trust - Positive Reinforcement - Animals decide to join or not - Reward: - Enthusiasm - Toys - Attention Fact: Fish is a basic need. An animal always gets his fish! Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

11 Filmpje: Enthousiasme / band verzorger-dier

12 Natural Behaviour Playing Playing with: -Eachother -Bubbles - Toys - Seaweed - Other animals (Seaguls / Fish / Crabs) Dr. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

13 Dolphins show a lot of play behaviour this is important because: Play Behaviour A key behaviour indicating positive welfare (Boissy et al Physiology & Behavior, 92, ) Dolphins play with: - Eachother -Toys - Bubbles -Seaweed - Other animals (Seaguls / Fish / Crabs) Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

14 Filmpje: Spelen

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16 Dolphins demonstrate succesful maternal behaviour. This is important as success is an indicator of succesful provision of essential needs. In Dolfinarium Harderwijk since 1998: 27 successes (77%) 8 failures (23%) Dystocia (6%) Trauma (8,5%) Genetic defects (8,5%) Dr. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

17 Filmpje: Geboortes / moeders / kleintjes

18 Introducing the bottlenose dolphin EEP How does it work All zoos with bottlenose dolphins in Europe cooperate For details please see essay on key figures and trends

19 Population self sustainable, no need for wild catches 1. Population is continiously rising 2. Captive born is now 2/3 of entire population 3. Last wild caught animals entered population in Population is self sustainable without further need for wild catches

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21 Dolphins live longer under human care than in the wild 1. Median life spans under human care increase 2. Median life spans under human care are significantly longer in Europe then in the longest living population in the wild + 26% Dr. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

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23 Hormonal studies One study done on dolphins which partcipated in swim programs indicated their cortisol level was similar to other zoo populations and semi zoo population (Sweeney et al IAAAM 2001 available upon request) This indicates human presence does not cause anxiety or stress in these animals Dr. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

24 Marine Mammals are excellent motivators for education Dr. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

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28 Marine Mammals are excellent for delivering conservation messages Dr. Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

29 Zoo s perform important Research Parc Asterix, Planete Sauvage and Dolfinarium Harderwijk On average 5 peer reviewed publications per year on: Pathology of wild and zoo animals Behaviour, communication and cognition Toxicology of wild animals Acoustics and anthropogenic disturbance Niels van Elk - Marine Biologist and Veterinarian Dolfinarium Harderwijk

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32 In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught. Baba Dioum

33 Filmpje bubbelspel

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