Individual and environmental risk factors associated with fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations in zoo-housed Asian and African elephants

A recent large-scale welfare study in North America involving 106 Asian (Elephas maximus) and 131 African (Loxodonta africana) elephants at 64 accredited facilities identified links (i.e., risk factors) between zoo environmental factors and a number of welfare outcomes (stereotypic behavior, ovarian acyclicity, hyperprolactinemia, walking and recumbence, body condition, health status, serum cortisol). For this population […]

Effects of Pool Size on Free-Choice Selections by Atlantic Bottlenosed Dolphins at One Zoo Facility

Dolphin pool design often derives from the concept that cetaceans are ocean based and ipso facto should live in open, deep, watery spaces. This emotionally appealing rationale is not data driven. Researchers report that in the wild, some populations of Atlantic bottlenosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) reside in shallower areas (approximately 2 m deep) and move […]

Training Nonhuman Primates to Cooperate With Scientific Procedures n Applied Biomedical Research

This report provides a brief overview of aspects of training nonhuman primates who have been, and continue to be, used in this laboratory. The research context involves applied behavioral studies in which animals are trained to perform complex operant behavioral sequences, often in their homecage environment. In such studies, animals have freedom to choose whether […]

Effects of Ratio Reinforcement Schedules on Choice Behavior

Choice behavior under a concurrent VR-FR schedule of reinforcement was investigated in two experiments to test a molar theory of maximization. Hunger-motivated albino rats pressed two bars, one on an FR10 and the other on a VR10 schedule, for a food reward. With the total number of experiences with each bar equated and interalternative switching […]

The Influence of Upcoming Food-Pellet Delivery on Subjects’ Responding for 1% Sucrose Reinforcement Delivered by Concurrent Random-Interval Schedules

Researchers have demonstrated that rats’ rates of operant responding that are maintained by 1% liquid-sucrose reinforcement will increase if food-pellet reinforcement is upcoming within the same session. The authors investigated whether a similar induction effect would be observed when rats pressed a lever for 1% sucrose that was delivered by concurrent random-interval schedules of reinforcement. […]

Enclosure choice and well-being in giant pandas: is it all about control?

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20064.abs Behavioral and hormonal data were compared for four giant pandas in two management conditions: (1) panda confined to exhibit area and (2) panda given choice to move freely between exhibit and off-exhibit bedroom areas. Pandas displayed fewer signs of behavioral agitation and lower urinary cortisol in the free choice condition. Time active did […]

On the relative reinforcing effects of choice and differential consequences

Research on the reinforcing effects of providing choice-making opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities (i.e., allowing them to choose reinforcers or tasks) has produced inconsistent results, perhaps because the mechanisms underlying such effects remain unclear. Choice may produce a reinforcement effect because it is correlated with differential consequences (i.e., choice may increase one’s access to […]

Larger, enriched cages are associated with ‘optimistic’ response biases in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

Anxious and depressed humans typically view circumstances more pessimistically than non-depressed individuals. Here, we explore the proposal that such cognitive biases also exist in non-human animals, and could be used as novel measures of animal welfare. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that wild-caught captiveEuropeanstarlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are more optimistic in their interpretation of ambiguous stimuli […]

Preference tests with rodents to assess housing conditions

Guidelines have been formulated by the European Community (EC 1986) to cover housing conditions for laboratory animals. These guidelines are based essentially on common practice of housing laboratory animals and on limited data concerning relations between housing conditions and either animal growth or development of pathologies. Further information on this subject is required to optimize […]