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Article

Do Camels (Camelus dromedarius) Need Shaded Areas? A Case Study of the Camel Market in Doha

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 46, I-40127 Bologna, Italy
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Academic Editors: Frank Dunshea, Surinder Singh Chauhan and Temple Grandin
Animals 2021, 11(2), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020480
Received: 27 January 2021 / Revised: 4 February 2021 / Accepted: 8 February 2021 / Published: 11 February 2021
Scientific knowledge concerning dromedary camel behavior and welfare is still limited. To date, providing pens with adequate shaded areas is not regulated in camel husbandry. The objectives of this study were to document whether dromedary camels have a preference for shade and describe how their behavior would change depending on the presence of shade in pens with different animal densities. Analyzing the behavior of camels kept at a permanent market in Doha, we found they had a preference for shade, and adequate shaded areas seemed to exert a positive effect on their behavioral repertoire. Camels in shade expressed more natural behaviors such as lying in sternal recumbency and ruminating, while those in the sun showed more walking and standing. Limited space allowance, instead, seemed to affect camel welfare, increasing the expression of stereotypic behavior (i.e., pacing). Overall, the results of this pilot study suggest that provision of adequate shaded areas could safeguard camel wellbeing under extremely hot conditions.
This study aimed at documenting whether dromedary camels have a preference for shade and how their behavior would change depending on the presence of shade and variable space allowance. A total of 421 animals kept in 76 pens (66 with shelter (Group 1), and 10 without shelter (Group 2)) at the camel market in Doha (Qatar) were recorded for 1 min around 11:00 a.m. when the temperature was above 40 °C. The number of animals in the sun and shade and their behaviors were analyzed using an ad libitum sampling method and an ad hoc ethogram. The results of a chi-square test indicated that camels in Group 1 had a clear preference for shade (p < 0.001). The majority of Group 1 camels were indeed observed in the shade (312/421; 74.11%). These camels spent more time in recumbency and ruminating, while standing, walking, and self-grooming were more commonly expressed by the camels in the sun (p < 0.001). Moreover, locomotory stereotypic behaviors (i.e., pacing) increased as space allowance decreased (p = 0.002). Based on the findings of this pilot study, camels demonstrated a preference for shade; shade seemed to promote positive welfare, while overcrowding seemed to trigger stereotypy and poor welfare. Overall, our preliminary results are novel and provide evidence that shaded areas are of paramount importance for camel welfare. Further research, involving designed studies at multiple locations is needed to confirm these results. View Full-Text
Keywords: one-humped camel; behavior; shade; space allowance; ethogram; rumination; sternal recumbency; stereotypic behavior; welfare one-humped camel; behavior; shade; space allowance; ethogram; rumination; sternal recumbency; stereotypic behavior; welfare
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zappaterra, M.; Menchetti, L.; Nanni Costa, L.; Padalino, B. Do Camels (Camelus dromedarius) Need Shaded Areas? A Case Study of the Camel Market in Doha. Animals 2021, 11, 480. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020480

AMA Style

Zappaterra M, Menchetti L, Nanni Costa L, Padalino B. Do Camels (Camelus dromedarius) Need Shaded Areas? A Case Study of the Camel Market in Doha. Animals. 2021; 11(2):480. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020480

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zappaterra, Martina, Laura Menchetti, Leonardo Nanni Costa, and Barbara Padalino. 2021. "Do Camels (Camelus dromedarius) Need Shaded Areas? A Case Study of the Camel Market in Doha" Animals 11, no. 2: 480. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020480

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