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Open AccessArticle

Comparative Personality Traits Assessment of Three Species of Communally Housed Captive Penguins

1
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology, School of Science and the Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
3
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(6), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060376
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Zoo Animals)
The evolution of modern zoo structures frequently includes enclosures in which different species are hosted, living together permanently. This choice involves positive aspects, both for visitors and for hosted animals. On the other hand, the space available to animals and the standardization of management procedures may not be sufficiently adequate to allow the behavioral individuality to be maintained. This study aimed to verify, in a colony of three species of penguins living together; if individuals express personality traits, that differ among species. The results we obtained show that the penguins exhibited common personality traits, but also that some were expressed with a different intensity, depending on the specie. From a practical point of view, these data could help the management of the animals, allowing to optimize the design of enclosures and the enrichment strategy according to the different behavioral characteristics of the cohabiting species, in order to match with the needs of the individual.
Understanding animal personalities has notable implications in the ecology and evolution of animal behavior, but personality studies can also be useful in optimizing animal management, with the aim of improving health and well-being, and optimizing reproductive success, a fundamental factor in the species threatened with extinction. Modern zoos are increasingly being structured with enclosures that host different species, which permanently share spaces. This condition has undeniable positive aspects, but, in some species, it could determine the appearance of collective or synchronized behaviors. The aim of this study was to verify, in a colony of three species of communally housed penguins (Pygoscelis papua, Aptenodytes patagonicus and Eudyptes moseleyi), through a trait-rating assessment, if interspecific group life impacts on the expression of personality traits, and if it is possible to highlight specie-specific expression of personality traits, despite the influence of forced cohabitation. For many of the personality traits we analyzed, we have observed that it was possible to detect an expression that differed, according to the species. From a practical point of view, these data could ameliorate the management of the animals, allowing to design animal life routines, according to the different behavioral characteristics of the cohabiting species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pygoscelis papua; Aptenodytes patagonicus; Eudyptes moseleyi; personality traits Pygoscelis papua; Aptenodytes patagonicus; Eudyptes moseleyi; personality traits
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Quintavalle Pastorino, G.; Preziosi, R.; Faustini, M.; Curone, G.; Albertini, M.; Nicoll, D.; Moffat, L.; Pizzi, R.; Mazzola, S. Comparative Personality Traits Assessment of Three Species of Communally Housed Captive Penguins. Animals 2019, 9, 376.

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