Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 429440
Title Zoo Animal Welfare Assessment
Author(s) Koene, P.
Event Minding Animals 2012, 2012-07-03/2012-07-06
Department(s) Animal Health & Welfare
Publication type Contribution in proceedings
Publication year 2012
Abstract Species with specific environmental adaptations may show specific behavioral adaptations, difficulty in adapting to a new environment, and hence suboptimal functioning and fitness. Discrepancy between natural behavioral adaptations and behavioral possibilities in captivity may cause welfare problems. Aim of the project is to estimate a species’ suitability for living in captivity, assess welfare, suggest environmental changes, and find species characteristics that underlie welfare problems in zoo animals. Databases of species characteristics are set-up using literature of natural behavior (1) and captive behavior (2). Species characteristics are grouped in eight functional behavioral ecological fitness-related categories related to space, time, metabolic, safety, reproductive, comfort, social and information adaptations using a model of welfare optimization. Assessments of the strength of behavioral adaptations in relation to environmental needs are made based on results available from literature. The databases with literature on species level are coupled with databases of behavioral observations (3) and welfare assessments (4) under captive conditions. The represented structure produces best professional judgments, shows discrepancies between environmental responses in different environments and suggests ways for improvement (environmental changes). The functional behavioral category approach is compared with and incorporates principles, methods and outcomes developed in the Welfare Quality® project. Behavioral data from many MSc-projects covering 10 Dutch zoos and 45 species are used (mammals, birds and reptiles). In conclusion, the comparison of the complete repertoire of behaviours in natural and zoo environments highlights welfare problems, the solution of welfare problems by environmental changes and the species characteristics underlying zoo animal welfare problems.
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