Sex, Age, and Individual Differences in Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Response to Environmental Enrichment

Application of environmental enrichment, as a means to successfully decrease undesired behaviors (e.g., stereotypic) and improve animal welfare, has been documented in a variety of zoological species. However, a dearth of empirical evidence exists concerning age, sex, and individual differences in response to various types of enrichment tools and activities in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops […]

Young Belugas Diversify Adult Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) Behavior

Across the animal kingdom, immature animals are characterized by their playfulness and diversity of behavior, but are their actions enriching to adult conspecifics? The purpose of this study was to assess if beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) calves influenced the behavioral repertoire of adult conspecifics, specifically with regard to play behaviors, social interactions, and solitary swimming. Video […]

The Influence of Age, Sex, and Social Affiliation on the Responses of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) to a Novel Stimulus Over Time

Responses to novelty may differ among individuals as a function of age, sex, and/or the presence of offspring, and understanding how marine mammals respond to novel stimuli is critical to management. In this study, 20 captive Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were exposed to a novel object, consisting of PVC pipes and either a non-reflective […]

A Tool Use Task Proves Enriching for a Captive Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

Environmental enrichment is used to improve an animal’s physical and psychological well-being while housed in a captive environment. Alligood and Leighty (2015) suggested that enrichment that emulates the natural and preferred behaviors of the species may be optimal for improving welfare. Cognitive tasks that mirror challenges in an animal’s natural environment may prove especially beneficial […]

Farm Animal Cognition—Linking Behavior, Welfare and Ethics

Farm animal welfare is a major concern for society and food production. To more accurately evaluate animal farming in general and to avoid exposing farm animals to poor welfare situations, it is necessary to understand not only their behavioural but also their cognitive needs and capacities. Thus, general knowledge of how farm animals perceive and […]

Implementing portable touchscreen-setups to enhance cognitive research and enrich zoo-housed animals

To understand the evolutionary development of cognition, comparing the cognitive capacities of different animal species is essential. However, getting access to various species with sufficient sample sizes can be very challenging. Zoos, housing large ranges of animal taxa, would offer ideal research environments, but zoo-based studies on cognition are still rare. The use of touchscreen-computers […]

Does Enrichment Improve Well Being in Animals under Human Care? A Case Study of Two Harbor Seals (Phoca Vitulina)

Harbor seals in the wild live in a stimulating environment; therefore, nonhuman-animal caretakers have increasingly been using environmental enrichment to improve the well being of seals under human care. The purpose of this study was to evaluate an object-based environmental enrichment program during a four-month period on stimulating exploration and play and improving conspecific social […]

Novel Environmental Enrichment May Provide a Tool for Rapid Assessment of Animal Personality: A Case Study With Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

Historically, the assessment of nonhuman animal personality has included a variety of methods—from direct behavioral observations in a variety of test situations to assessments provided by animal caretakers or trainers. Careful observation of how animals in zoos interact with novel enrichment may provide reliable insight into their personality. This study sought to describe a process […]

Environmental Enrichment for Dendrobatid Frogs

The Central Park Zoo, one of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Living Institutions in New York, recently renovated an exhibit for dart-poison frogs. Staff developed a new hollow coconut insect feeder in conjunction with this project. When the exhibit change, coconut feeder, and other enrichments were tested for effectiveness, the coconut feeder enrichment produced the greatest […]

Comparison of the behaviour of European brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) in six different parks, with particular attention to stereotypies

In order to assess the influence of environmental parameters on their behaviour, 16 European brown bears were observed in six different zoological parks. Activities were measured by scan sampling and their relationships to housing conditions were established by multifactorial correspondence analysis and cluster analysis. The largest enclosures were characterised by high scores of play, social […]