6 research outputs found

    Foraging enrichment alleviates oral repetitive behaviors in captive red-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii)

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    The relationship between inadequate foraging opportunities and the expression of oral repetitive behaviors has been well documented in many production animal species. However, this relationship has been less‐well examined in zoo‐housed animals, particularly avian species. The expression of oral repetitive behavior may embody a frustrated foraging response, and may therefore be alleviated with the provision of foraging enrichment. In this study, we examined the effect of different foraging‐based enrichment items on a group of captive red‐tailed black cockatoos who were previously observed performing oral repetitive behavior. A group of six cockatoos were presented with five foraging enrichment conditions (no enrichment (control), sliced cucumber, fresh grass, baffle cages, and millet discs). Baseline activity budgets were established over a 10‐day preintervention period and interventions were then presented systematically over a 25‐day experimental period. This study demonstrated that the provision of foraging interventions effectively increased the median percentage of time spent foraging compared to control conditions (range, 5.0–31.7% across interventions vs. 5.0% for control), with two of the interventions; grass and millet discs, significantly decreasing the expression of oral repetitive behaviors (control = 16.6 vs. 8.3% for both grass and millet discs). Finally, a rapid‐scoring method utilized by zookeepers during the study proved to be a useful proxy for the amount of time the cockatoos spent interacting with the foraging interventions and overall time spent foraging

    Keeper-animal interactions: differences between the behaviour of zoo animals affect stockmanship

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    Stockmanship is a term used to describe the management of animals with a good stockperson someone who does this in a in a safe, effective, and low-stress manner for both the stock-keeper and animals involved. Although impacts of unfamiliar zoo visitors on animal behaviour have been extensively studied, the impact of stockmanship i.e familiar zoo keepers is a new area of research; which could reveal significant ramifications for zoo animal behaviour and welfare. It is likely that different relationships are formed dependant on the unique keeper-animal dyad (human-animal interaction, HAI). The aims of this study were to (1) investigate if unique keeper-animal dyads were formed in zoos, (2) determine whether keepers differed in their interactions towards animals regarding their attitude, animal knowl- edge and experience and (3) explore what factors affect keeper-animal dyads and ultimately influence animal behaviour and welfare. Eight black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), eleven Chapman’s zebra (Equus burchellii), and twelve Sulawesi crested black macaques (Macaca nigra) were studied in 6 zoos across the UK and USA. Subtle cues and commands directed by keepers towards animals were identified. The animals latency to respond and the respective behavioural response (cue-response) was recorded per keeper-animal dyad (n=93). A questionnaire was constructed following a five-point Likert Scale design to record keeper demographic information and assess the job satisfaction of keepers, their attitude towards the animals and their perceived relationship with them. There was a significant difference in the animals’ latency to appropriately respond after cues and commands from different keepers, indicating unique keeper-animal dyads were formed. Stockmanship style was also different between keepers; two main components contributed equally towards this: “attitude towards the animals” and “knowledge and experience of the animals”. In this novel study, data demonstrated unique dyads were formed between keepers and zoo animals, which influenced animal behaviour

    A note on the effect of concerts on the behaviour of Domestic dogs Canis lupus familiaris at Taronga Zoo, Sydney

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    Loud or aversive noise is a key factor that may stress animals in zoological institutions. Many zoos host concerts in their grounds, and this practice is likely to expose resident animals to loud noises. Few studies have explored the effect of concerts and events on animals in zoological institutions. Here, the behaviour of two Domestic dogs Canis lupus familiaris at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia, was compared between evenings with and without concerts. Behaviours such as whining, shaking, panting and destructive behaviour, thought to reflect fear or anxiety, occurred at low levels. Hiding can also be linked to fear and anxiety but is less easy to identify; for example, time spent in kennels could be considered hiding or resting. To examine this, the proportion of time the dogs spent inside their kennels was compared between evenings with concerts and those without. No difference was found between the two conditions. This indicates that dogs were probably resting rather than ‘hiding’ inside their kennels; as this behaviour made up similar proportions of evenings with and without concerts. No behaviours that may be linked to anxiety caused by concerts were identified. More comprehensive research will be carried out to explore the effect on resident animals of concerts and events held at zoological institutions

    Injury Risk Factors Associated With Training and Competition in Flyball Dogs

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    Flyball is a fast-paced, high-energy canine sport which has received negative press regarding the potential for injury, and possible welfare implications for canine competitors. Whilst frequency of injury within the sport has been investigated, evidence gaps remain regarding cause. The aim of this study was therefore to identify risk factors for injury within the sport, with a view to improving competitor safety. An online questionnaire was used to obtain data on dogs that had competed in flyball in the last 5 years but remained injury free, and a second questionnaire obtained data on dogs that had also competed within the last 5 years but sustained an injury. Data relating to conformation and performance was collected for 581 dogs, with the same data plus information relating to injury collected from an additional 75 injured dogs. Data were then compared using univariable, multivariable and multinomial logistic regression. Dogs completing a flyball course in less than 4 seconds had the highest level of injury risk (P = .029), which reduced as time taken increased. There was an association between risk of injury and increasing age, with dogs over 10 years old most likely to be injured during their career in the sport (P = .004). Furthermore, dogs using an angle of flyball box of between 45° and 55° had a greater risk of injury, while using an angle between 66° and 75° reduced the risk of injury by 67.2% (OR: 0.328). Use of carpal bandaging was significantly associated with carpal injuries (P = .042). These findings identify new risk factors for injury within flyball which can be used to improve welfare and safety for competitors.</p