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Philadelphia Zoo: Assessing Animal Welfare in a New Enclosure Design.
June 17, 2016
Philadelphia Zoo has started building a network of corridors between enclosures, providing their animals with extra space and opportunities to explore. Both visitors and zoo keepers like this new enrichment system but assessing the animals' response to it is not as easy. Mariek Gartner, animal welfare researcher at this zoo, explains how she is assessing the animal well-being in this new enclosure design, using behavioural studies and questionning the keepers that work closely with those animals.
Although she still needs more evidence to draw solid conclusions, she says there are certainly positive signs that indicate the animals enjoy this new system.
Twycross Zoo is using new technology to elicit natural behaviours in captive chimpanzees!
May 11, 2016
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have designed a new web-based program that is helping zoo staff at Twycross Zoo designing the enclosure and enrichment programmes for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).
This program gives information on features commonly seen in these animals' natural habitat - applying this to zoo enclosures makes them more unpredictable and stimulates captive animals to perform natural behaviours and use more their musculature for locomotion. Zoo staff observe the behaviour of the animals and add this information to the program, which automatically compares it with data from the wild.
These new features include a network of straps and nets, occupying the whole height of the enclosure. At the top, pockets with food are hidden in the chimps' bedding. The movement of the straps and nets changes with the number and actions of animals using them - an unpredictability that is common in their natural habitat.
Chimpanzees are listed as "Endangered" in the IUCN Red List, and it may be necessary to reintroduce captive-born individuals back into the wild, in the future. For this to be possible, these have to be not only genetically diverse, but also show similar behavioural and physiological responses to their wild counterparts.
Animal Training and Enrichment - Conversation with Director of Training at San Francisco Zoo
May 03, 2016
The Animal Training Academy spoke to Debbie Marrin, Director of Training and Behavioural Husbandry at San Francisco Zoo, discussing topics on animal training, positive reinforcement, developing human-animal relationships, use of training in conservation, and others!
Painting as Enrichment for Ravens at the National Zoo
April 07, 2016
As ravens are known for using tools in the wild, staff at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Institute encourage their ravens to paint, so they can replicate some of the tool-use natural behaviours they would perform in the wild.
Bath as Enrichment for Giant Panda - Smithsonian National Zoo
March 23, 2016
Enrichment for a Giant panda at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Although pandas do not bath very often in the wild, this male is exhibiting typical behaviours of the breeding season and enjoys playing with water.
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