Special Issue "Zoo Animal Welfare"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Xavier Manteca

School of Veterinary Science, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: animal welfare, animal behaviour, cattle, pigs, zoo animals, dogs, cats

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Each year, hundreds of millions of people visit a zoo or aquarium somewhere in the world, which provides zoological institutions with a unique opportunity to contribute to the education of people. Moreover, the management and breeding strategies for endangered species held in zoos contribute, sometimes decisively, to the conservation of many animals. Finally, zoos make important financial contributions to various conservation programs "in situ".

Zoos, however, can best carry out their educational and conservation missions if they keep animals in optimum welfare. Over recent decades, we have learned a great deal about the welfare of animals. Although most of this research has focused on domestic species, knowledge about fundamental and applied aspects of zoo animal welfare has also increased significantly.

Original manuscripts that address any aspects of zoo animal welfare (including both terrestrial and aquatic species) are invited for this Special Issue. Topics of special interest are assessment of welfare of zoo animals, environmental enrichment in zoos and aquaria, research approaches to assess the overall affective state of wild animals under human care (such as cognitive bias tests and measurement of anticipatory behaviour), and welfare issues in less-researched species, such as fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

Prof. Xavier Manteca
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Animal welfare
  • Stress
  • Zoo animals
  • Welfare assessment
  • Environmental enrichment

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Assessing Animal Welfare in Animal-Visitor Interactions in Zoos and Other Facilities. A Pilot Study Involving Giraffes
Animals 2018, 8(9), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8090153
Received: 8 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, awareness of the controversial aspects connected with wild animal-visitor interactions (AVIs) in zoos and other facilities has increased due to cultural changes. Therefore, the need to apply transparent procedures to evaluate AVIs programs in zoos and similar facilities has also
[...] Read more.
In recent years, awareness of the controversial aspects connected with wild animal-visitor interactions (AVIs) in zoos and other facilities has increased due to cultural changes. Therefore, the need to apply transparent procedures to evaluate AVIs programs in zoos and similar facilities has also increased. This study presents results of animal welfare’s assessment of a pilot test of a protocol based on six steps that aim to explore and assess the overall value of AVIs considering the impact both on animals and visitors. In the present paper, we discuss the multifaceted approach to animal welfare assessment during animal-visitor interactions, combining quantitative behavioural observations/analysis and a welfare risk-assessment procedure, which forms the basis of the six-step protocol. Pilot testing of said approach to animal welfare assessment involved giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) in an Italian zoo. No change in behaviour, suggestive of an increased welfare risk to the animals, was found. The risk analysis reported overall low risks for welfare, whereas enclosure analysis highlighted that the enclosure was suitable for allowing interactions without jeopardising animal welfare, mainly because it allowed animals to choose whether to interact or withdraw from interactions without decreasing the space available to them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle The Different Physical and Behavioural Characteristics of Zoo Mammals That Influence Their Response to Visitors
Animals 2018, 8(8), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080139
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 12 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
The factors underlying the ‘zoo visit effect’ (changes in animal behaviour/physiology in response to visitor presence) are still poorly understood, despite it being widely investigated. The present study examined the effect of zoo visitors on the behaviour of 17 different species of mammals
[...] Read more.
The factors underlying the ‘zoo visit effect’ (changes in animal behaviour/physiology in response to visitor presence) are still poorly understood, despite it being widely investigated. The present study examined the effect of zoo visitors on the behaviour of 17 different species of mammals at the Belo Horizonte Zoo, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The behaviour of the animals was recorded using scan (focal in one case) sampling with instantaneous recording of behaviour, during 12 continuous months. Data were analysed using a comparative method examining five different factors: diet, body weight, stratum occupied, activity cycle, and habitat, as well as three different visitor categories: small and quiet audience, medium size audience and medium noise, and large size and loud audience. Significant changes in the behaviour for each factor, especially increases in locomotor and resting behaviour, were observed in response to different visitor categories. The factors that most explained responses to visitor categories were habitat and activity cycle. Species from closed habitats compared to open habitats were significantly more impacted (more behaviour affected), probably, because they are, evolutionarily, less accustomed to visual contact with people. Diurnal species showed more behavioural changes than nocturnal ones, possibly, because they were being observed during their normal activity cycle. These results may help zoos identify which mammal species are most susceptible to the zoo visitor effect, and consequently, be more pro-active in the use of mitigating strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Social Interactions in Two Groups of Zoo-Housed Adult Female Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) that Differ in Relatedness
Animals 2018, 8(8), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080132
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Opportunities for positive social interaction are important in captive animals, and social interactions can be used as a welfare indicator. Wild elephants live in related multigenerational herds; however, in captivity they are often managed in less related groups, which could impact the quality
[...] Read more.
Opportunities for positive social interaction are important in captive animals, and social interactions can be used as a welfare indicator. Wild elephants live in related multigenerational herds; however, in captivity they are often managed in less related groups, which could impact the quality of their social interactions, and thus their welfare. Here, we used a limited social network analysis to investigate the social interactions in two groups of four female captive Asian elephants, one of which contained individuals that were all related to one another, whilst the other was a mix of related and unrelated individuals. Data on pairwise social interactions was collected from eight days of video footage using an all-occurrence sampling technique. More affiliative, and fewer agonistic interactions were observed in the related elephant group. Additionally, non-contact displacement was observed at a higher frequency in the related elephant group, which we theorise represents an established functioning hierarchy, avoiding the need for overt aggression over resources. Although kinship is not likely to be the only factor affecting captive elephant social behaviour, these findings support the recommendation that for optimal welfare, elephants should be managed in multigenerational family herds. Evaluations of social interactions such as those conducted here would have wider applicability for aiding the management of any captive social species to identify when groups might be incompatible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle An Animal Welfare Risk Assessment Process for Zoos
Animals 2018, 8(8), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080130
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 28 July 2018
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Abstract
There is a growing interest and need for zoos to develop and implement welfare assessment tools that are practical to use and provide meaningful results that can inform management decisions. This paper presents a process that was developed to support this type of
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There is a growing interest and need for zoos to develop and implement welfare assessment tools that are practical to use and provide meaningful results that can inform management decisions. This paper presents a process that was developed to support this type of evidence-based management in zoo animal welfare. The process is configured to facilitate institutional risk assessment, using an adapted version of the Five Domains Model for animal welfare assessment. It is designed to systematically analyse information gathered from zoo personnel in order to highlight areas of welfare risk, as well as areas that are performing well and areas requiring further investigation. A trial was conducted on three zoos over three years. Results of the trial suggest the process developed is practical and effective in identifying areas of welfare risk in a wide range of species in a zoo setting. It represents a further step towards achieving high-level animal welfare in zoos by integrating animal welfare as an institutional priority. The more zoos that employ such strategies, the greater the ability of the sector to advance the welfare of the animals in their care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Using Farm Animal Welfare Protocols as a Base to Assess the Welfare of Wild Animals in Captivity—Case Study: Dorcas Gazelles (Gazella dorcas)
Animals 2018, 8(7), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070111
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 25 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
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Abstract
There is a lack of protocols specifically developed for the assessment of welfare of wild animals in captivity, even when it is known that providing good standards of welfare is important. The aim of this study was the development and the application of
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There is a lack of protocols specifically developed for the assessment of welfare of wild animals in captivity, even when it is known that providing good standards of welfare is important. The aim of this study was the development and the application of a protocol for the assessment of welfare in captive dorcas gazelles. The protocol was mainly developed taking into account the protocol for the assessment of welfare in cattle from the Welfare Quality® project, the available literature of the biology of this species and the Husbandry Guidelines developed for captive breeding and management of this species. The protocol was specifically developed for dorcas gazelles and included four principles, 10 criteria and 23 animal and environmental-based indicators. To test its utility, this protocol was applied to five different groups of gazelles from three different zoos. Its application made possible to detect areas for improvement in all groups assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Commercially Available Immunoassays to Measure Glucocorticoid Metabolites in African Grey Parrot (Psittacus Erithacus) Droppings: A Ready Tool for Non-Invasive Monitoring of Stress
Animals 2018, 8(7), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070105
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 28 June 2018
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Abstract
Despite being undomesticated, African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) are commonly found in captivity, in zoos or as pets. Captivity can be an ongoing stressor. Non-invasive glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) measurements from bird droppings are of interest for assessing stress but require careful
[...] Read more.
Despite being undomesticated, African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) are commonly found in captivity, in zoos or as pets. Captivity can be an ongoing stressor. Non-invasive glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) measurements from bird droppings are of interest for assessing stress but require careful evaluation in each newly studied species. This study describes the assessment of such methods for Psittacus erithacus to provide tools for evaluating stress and monitoring welfare. We evaluated 12 method combinations of GCM extraction and enzyme immunoassay (EIA) from a pool of African Grey Parrot droppings, through the validation of several analytical parameters. Then, Heterophil: Lymphocyte Ratios (HLR), another reliable stress marker, were determined and correlated to individual dropping GCM concentrations for 29 birds to determine whether the method is biologically relevant. We found that the best procedure to measure GCM in African Grey Parrot droppings is a combination of 60% methanol extraction measured using a Corticosterone EIA kit (Cayman Chemical Company) from fresh or dry droppings. The establishment of a significant correlation (Pearson coefficient correlation = 0.48; p = 0.0082) between HLR and GCM in the studied population confirmed the method biological relevance. This method can thus be applied to assess stress in Psittacus erithacus and support welfare monitoring in zoo populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Behaviour-Based Husbandry—A Holistic Approach to the Management of Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors
Animals 2018, 8(7), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070103
Received: 2 June 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 23 June 2018 / Published: 27 June 2018
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Abstract
The field of zoo animal welfare science has developed significantly over recent years. However despite this progress in terms of scientific research, globally, zoo animals still face many welfare challenges. Recently, animal welfare frameworks such as the five domains or five needs have
[...] Read more.
The field of zoo animal welfare science has developed significantly over recent years. However despite this progress in terms of scientific research, globally, zoo animals still face many welfare challenges. Recently, animal welfare frameworks such as the five domains or five needs have been developed and suggested to improve the welfare of zoo animals, but without practical guidance, such tools may remain abstract from the daily experience of zoo animals. Similarly specific practical strategies such as those for enrichment development exist, but their lack of holistic integration with other aspects of animal husbandry and behavioral medicine means that overall, good zoo animal welfare may still be lacking. This paper outlines some of the barriers to implementing improved zoo animal welfare in practice, and proposes a new strategy for the development of behavioral husbandry routines focused on the management and mitigation of abnormal repetitive behaviors. Focusing on enhancing zoo animal welfare by integrating aspects of ecology, ethology and clinical animal behavior into a practical and comprehensive approach to behavior-based husbandry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Managing Aged Animals in Zoos to Promote Positive Welfare: A Review and Future Directions
Animals 2018, 8(7), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070116
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Improvements in veterinary care, nutrition, and husbandry of animals living in zoos have led to an increase in the longevity of these animals over the past 30 years. In this same time period, the focus of animal welfare science has shifted from concerns
[...] Read more.
Improvements in veterinary care, nutrition, and husbandry of animals living in zoos have led to an increase in the longevity of these animals over the past 30 years. In this same time period, the focus of animal welfare science has shifted from concerns over mitigating negative welfare impacts to promoting positive welfare experiences for animals. For instance, providing opportunities for animals to exert agency, solve problems, or acquire rewards are all associated with positive welfare outcomes. Many common age-related changes result in limitations to opportunities for positive welfare experiences, either due to pain or other physical, cognitive, or behavioral limitations. This review aggregates information regarding common age-related physical and behavioral changes across species, discusses how age-related changes may limit positive welfare opportunities of aged animals in human care, and suggests potential management methods to help promote positive welfare for animals at all life stages in zoos and aquariums. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
Open AccessReview Assessment of Welfare in Zoo Animals: Towards Optimum Quality of Life
Animals 2018, 8(7), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070110
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 26 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
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Abstract
Zoos are required to maintain a high standard of animal welfare, and this can be assessed using a combination of resource-based and animal-based indices usually divided into behavioural indicators, physiological indicators and clinical/pathological signs. Modern animal welfare assessments should aim to encompass positive
[...] Read more.
Zoos are required to maintain a high standard of animal welfare, and this can be assessed using a combination of resource-based and animal-based indices usually divided into behavioural indicators, physiological indicators and clinical/pathological signs. Modern animal welfare assessments should aim to encompass positive affective states and the indicators that are useful in assessing these are discussed. When developing factors to be scored for each species, there is huge variability in the available information about the natural biology for some zoo species and even less information concerning those animals in captivity. Wild baselines are not always the most accurate indicator of what is right for an animal in captivity, which makes the identification of factors to include within species-specific welfare assessment even more challenging. When planning a welfare strategy for any species, it is important that the full range of their biological requirements and needs are considered, but this can be challenging for some zoo species and it is not possible to define a “one size fits all” welfare strategy. The different approaches for welfare assessment are reviewed, including the development of the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid which offers an evidence-based tool for continual welfare assessment, using technology where appropriate, to facilitate decision making and lead to improvements in the animals’ quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
Open AccessReview Cognitive Bias in Zoo Animals: An Optimistic Outlook for Welfare Assessment
Animals 2018, 8(7), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070104
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 25 June 2018 / Accepted: 26 June 2018 / Published: 27 June 2018
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Abstract
Cognitive bias testing measures how emotional states can affect cognitive processes, often described using the “glass half-full/half-empty” paradigm. Classical or operant conditioning is used to measure responses to ambiguous cues, and it has been reported across many species and contexts that an animal’s
[...] Read more.
Cognitive bias testing measures how emotional states can affect cognitive processes, often described using the “glass half-full/half-empty” paradigm. Classical or operant conditioning is used to measure responses to ambiguous cues, and it has been reported across many species and contexts that an animal’s cognitive bias can be directly linked to welfare state, e.g., those in better welfare make more optimistic judgements. Cognitive bias testing has only recently been applied to animals and represents a key milestone in welfare science: it is currently one of the only accurate methods available to measure welfare. The tests have been conducted on many farm, laboratory, and companion animal species, but have only been carried out in zoo settings a handful of times. The aims of this review are to evaluate the feasibility of cognitive bias testing in zoos and its potential as a tool for studying zoo animal welfare. The few existing zoo cognitive bias studies are reviewed, as well as those conducted on similar, non-domesticated species. This work is then used to discuss how tests could be successfully designed and executed in zoo settings, which types of tests are most appropriate in different contexts, and how the data could be used to improve animal welfare. The review closely examines the many variables are present in the zoo which cannot be controlled as in other settings, termed here the Zoo Environment (ZE) Variables. It is recommended that tests are developed after consideration of each of the ZE Variables, and through strong collaboration between zookeepers, managers, and academic institutions. There is much unexplored potential of cognitive bias testing in the zoo setting, not least its use in investigating animal welfare in zoos. It is hoped that this review will stimulate increased interest in this topic from zoo managers, scientists, and industry regulators alike. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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