Optimal marine mammal welfare under human care: Current efforts and future directions

Marine mammals include cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters and polar bears, many of which are charismatic and popular species commonly kept under human care in zoos and aquaria. However, in comparison with their fully terrestrial counterparts their welfare has been less intensively studied, and their partial or full reliance on the aquatic environment leads to […]

Studying the behaviour and sensory ecology of marine mammals using acoustic recording tags: a review

Many marine animals use sound passively or actively for communication, foraging, predator avoidance, navigation, and to sense their environment. The advent of acoustic recording tags has allowed biologists to get the on-animal perspective of the sonic environment and, in combination with movement sensors, to relate sounds to the activities of the tagged animal. These powerful […]

Digesta passage rates in the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20150.abs The Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris (Sirenia: Trichechidae), is an herbivorous marine mammal found within coastal areas throughout the state of Florida, which feeds on both fresh and salt water sea grasses. Manatees, like other Sirenians, are a tropical species with little tolerance for water temperatures below 20°C, rely on a relatively poor […]

Evaluation of adrenocortical function in Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

Abstract The study objectives were to determine the predominant manatee glucocorticoid; validate assays to measure this glucocorticoid and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); determine diagnostic thresholds to distinguish physiological vs. pathological concentrations; identify differences associated with sex, age class, female reproductive status, capture time, and lactate; and determine the best methods for manatee biologists and clinicians to […]

Assessment of flipper tag site healing in gray seal pups using thermography

Infrared thermography was used to monitor the healing process at flipper tag sites in gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) pups. We tested the hypothesis that tagging would result in a rise in surface temperature associated with tag site healing processes compared with adjacent untagged areas of the flipper. Prior to tagging thermal images were recorded of […]

Effects of Enrichment Presentation and Other Factors on Behavioral Welfare of Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata)

ABSTRACTEnvironmental enrichment is a crucial element of promoting welfare for animals in captivity. However, enrichment programs are not always formally evaluated for their efficacy. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence of enrichment evaluation for species of small cetaceans in zoological settings. A wide range of variables may potentially influence enrichment efficacy and how it in […]