1 Assessment of animal welfare in zoos Dr Heather J. Bacon BSc BVSc CertZooMed MRCVS Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education University of Edinburgh
2 The role of the modern zoo CONSERVATION EDUCATION WELFARE RESEARCH
3 Why is good welfare so important? Conservation Populations must be fit for breeding and reintroduction purposes, poor welfare can lead to stress, suppression of immune function and a decrease in reproductive fitness
4 Why is good welfare so important? Education Animals should exhibit natural behaviours to educate the public about their natural habits
5 Why is good welfare so important? Research Healthy animals exhibiting natural behaviours can give us valuable information on how their wild counterparts live and behave
6 How do we measure welfare? Subjective Vs Objective measurements E.g. Assessment of an animal looking stressed Vs faecal cortisol screening demonstrating measurable stress hormone changes Qualitative Vs Quantitative E.g. An opinion on how much time an animal spends performing stereotypic behaviour Vs an activity budget ethogram recording measurable behaviours Objective quantitative measures preferred as more reliable and can measure the impact of any further changes we then implement.
7 Snapshot Welfare Assessments Of limited use 1 moment in time No information on husbandry, keeper interaction, management programmes, training, enrichment, previous history, medical needs etc Enclosure assessment and group demographics may be possible
10 Five Freedoms 1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. 2. Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. 3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. 4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind. 5. Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
11 Five Freedoms A subjective and qualitative measure Brambell Comission (UK govt) 1965, welfare of intensively farmed animals Do not encourage positive welfare at best a neutral welfare state can be achieved Now Life worth living Good life Modern ethologists place emphasis on minimising negative welfare aspects plus increasing opportunities for positive welfare
12 Telos Telos is the innate nature of an animal the pig-ness of a pig or the chimp-ness of a chimpanzee Explains the strong neurobiological drive to fulfil certain behavioural activities even if all physical needs are met
13 Defining behaviour Natural behaviour has been defined as a behaviour that is typically observed in the wild; it is adaptive in the evolutionary sense (i.e.) has evolved by natural selection which allows an individual to survive more easily in its particular environment and so gives it a better chance of leaving offspring than an animal not so adapted (Poole, 1988b, p. 3). Unnatural behaviour is defined as a behaviour that is not seen in the wild. Not all unnatural behaviours are regarded as abnormal, however, as they may promote success within the captive environment (Poole, 1988b, p. 3-4).
14 Defining Behaviour Normal behaviour will promote the success and survival of the individual and its genetic contribution to the population and is clearly appropriate to the particular situation. It may also be either natural or unnatural (Poole, 1988b, p. 4). Abnormal behaviour is defined as a behaviour that is rarely seen in wild populations and does not promote the success and the survival of the individual or its close relatives (i.e. it does not increase fitness). It appears not to be goal oriented, so that its function is not apparent. It may include elements of normal activities, but they are performed in an inappropriate fashion (Poole, 1988b, p. 4).
15 Behaviour Abnormal behaviour is of the most concern Examples of abnormal behaviour include: Stereotypy (repetitive, aimless behaviour) Overgrooming/feather plucking Self-mutilation
16 How do we assess behaviour in relation to welfare? By analysing how an animal behaves, we can compare its behaviour to other animals of the same species. We can assess whether it s behaviour is normal and functional We can identify any abnormal behaviours and quantify them as a % of the animal s activity budget
17 Ethograms and Activity Budgets Ethogram Tool for measuring a specific behaviour or a number of behaviours in an individual Activity Budget The proportion of time an animal spends exhibiting each recorded behaviour
18 Ethogram BEHAVIOUR OBSERVATION SHEET Bear Name/No: Location: Date: Time: from to Observer: Weather Conditions: Season: Average/Approximate Temperature (Celcius) : Comments: Fine Cloudy/Overcast Wet Windy Stormy Hot Humid Warm Cool Cold OBSERVATIONS: When observing bear/s, record behaviours from the list below. Record behaviours every. Total Time Observed: mins Feeding Play Rest Forage Play enrichment Rest alone Feed in Den Play enclosure fixtures Rest with other/s Explore/Investigate Interactions If known: Environment Play With who Enrichment Aggression: Vocalise Fight Other bear/s Bears Avoidance (moves away) From who Other Other Other bear/s Stereotypic Compulsive General Behaviour Pacing Excessive salivating/foaming Alert Observ. of surrounds Weave in front of dens Self Directed Behaviour: Responsive to keepers Head sway - Self sucking or biting Lethargic Not observant Bar biting - Slapping/hitting Non-responsive to keepers Food regurgitation - Excessive grooming Other - Other General Health Noise Present Yes No Duration Noise Type Normal Abnormal Unsure People Present Yes No Duration Who/How many Poss. Injury Out of Sight Faeces Normal Abnormal General Comments: Add specific comments overleaf. Vomiting Vet/BM to view Percentages: Feed Play Rest Explore Interactions Stereotypic Compulsive Out of Sight
19 Once behaviours are recorded, we can compare against individuals of the same species within the zoo, at other zoos or even in the wild Activity budgets
20 Activity Budgets Analysis of activity budgets can highlight Reduced behavioural repertoires Abnormal behaviours such as stereotypy A behaviour being performed excessively The effect of human interventions e.g medical treatment, visitor effects or enrichment
21 Cortisol analysis Cortisol is a steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress Actions Increases blood glucose Suppresses the immune system (decreased lymphocyte proliferation) Decreases bone formation Promotes metabolism of fat and carbohydrate Inhibits reproduction (suppresses pulsatile LH secretion)
24 LH and FSH surge is essential for ovulation, and is inhibited by cortisol
25 Cortisol Can be measured in serum, urine, saliva, faeces and hair.
26 Cortisol Faecal cortisol levels in spider monkeys in different habitats. Lowest cortisol levels are in wild monkeys in conserved habitat. Highest levels are in pet monkeys
27 A NEX BZ Cortisol A = Differences in salivary cortisol in jaguars at two different zoos (NEX and BZ) B B = Salivary cortisol levels in jaguars at the same two zoos on days where visitors are present (black) and are not present (grey) Difference is in location of public viewing area in relation to enclosure
28 Disease Prevalence In general captive animals live longer than their wild counterparts But is quantity of life a good welfare indicator? We need to look at quality of life also Disease is detrimental to welfare, and it may be exacerbated by stress Captive animals may suffer from disease syndromes not recorded in the wild
30 Disease Prevalence Nutritional disease Nutritional hyperparathyroidism in large cats Hsing-Hsing, the panda at the National zoo in Washington fed snacks of blueberry muffin Cholesterol granulomas in meerkats Human-induced disease Female rhino at Granby zoo Quebec died after inhaling plastic
31 Disease Prevalence Multi-factorial disease Alopecia in spectacled bears Genetics, husbandry, allergies? Mortality in captive Orcas Immune suppression, dental disease, early parturition Feather plucking in parrots Stress, husbandry, nutrition, UV access
32 Reproductive success Other measures Asian elephants have poor reproductive records in captivity due to stress, herpesvirus infection, foot and musculoskeletal disease Many species require high levels of reproductive management e.g. artificial insemination or embryo transfer. As these animals would naturally breed in the wild is this extreme intervention indicative of stress inhibiting reproduction?
33 Summary so far.. Inadequate captive environments, poor nutrition, inappropriate visitor behaviour and poor keeper training can all create stress for captive animals Stress induces high cortisol levels, inhibiting reproduction, suppressing the immune system, decreasing normal behaviours and inducing abnormal behaviours Creating a low stress environment can increase behavioural repertoire and promote animal health and reproduction.
34 How do we create a lowstress environment? Gather information on natural state and needs - Telos Natural history and ecology Feeding behaviour Social behaviour Habitat Assess captive state using ethograms to assess activity budgets Consider Enclosure design, diet, keeper interaction, visitor viewing access, husbandry routine, behavioural repertoire, enrichment and enclosure furnishings
35 How do we create a low-stress environment? Assess data collected and implement changes e.g. providing enclosure furniture to encourage more varied behaviour Consider educational signage to change visitor behaviour, plants to screen visitors from view or changing the location of visitor viewing areas.
36 Behavioural Management Strategies Behavioural management allows the development of proactive standards for the care and psychological well-being of captive animal Behavioural management incorporates behavioural enrichment, training, animal behaviour issues, and exhibit architecture and husbandry.
37 Enclosure design
38 Enclosure design
41 Human interaction
42 Human interaction
43 Summary Welfare assessment in captive wildlife can be difficult but it is possible. Stress can predispose to a number of physical and mental diseases Zoos should continually assess and audit their management practices to reduce stress and enhance quality of life Remember the importance of Telos, behaviour and mental health Aim to ensure A Good Life
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