Cognitive enrichment and welfare: Current approaches and future directions

“Cognitive enrichment” is a subset of enrichment that has gained interest from researchers over the past decade, particularly those working in zoos. This review explores the forms of cognitive enrichment that have been attempted for laboratory, farmed and zoo animals with a focus on the latter, including various definitions, aims, and approaches. This review reveals […]

Evaluating mood changes in response to anthropogenic noise with a response-slowing task in three species of zoo-housed primates

In the zoo environment, anthropogenic noise is common as sound levels fluctuate due to visitors, construction, habitat design, and special events. In this study, changes in the mood of three species of zoo-housed primates in response to a loud annual event were evaluated with the response-slowing paradigm. In this paradigm, animals experiencing anxiety slow responses […]

Developing a Metric of Usable Space for Zoo Exhibits

The size of animal exhibits has important effects on their lives and welfare. However, most references to exhibit size only consider floor space and height dimensions, without considering the space afforded by usable features within the exhibit. In this paper, we develop two possible methods for measuring the usable space of zoo exhibits and apply […]

Animal Welfare in Conservation Breeding: Applications and Challenges

Animal welfare and conservation breeding have overlapping and compatible goals that are occasionally divergent. Efforts to improve enclosures, provide enriching experiences, and address behavioral and physical needs further the causes of animal welfare in all zoo settings. However, by mitigating stress, increasing behavioral competence, and enhancing reproduction, health, and survival, conservation breeding programs must also […]

Prolonged ovarian acyclicity is associated with a higher likelihood of developing hyperprolactinemia in zoo female African elephants

Hyperprolactinemia is a common disorder of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, and a cause of ovarian dysfunction in women. Currently, over half of non-cycling African elephant females in North America also are hyperprolactinemic, suggesting a similar link between these two conditions may exist. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between acyclicity and prolactin […]

Preliminary data showing potential for salivary C-reactive protein as an indicator of welfare in western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein often used as a biomarker for inflammation related to acute trauma or chronic illness. Animal studies showing elevations in CRP following events such as road transport and moving to new housing suggest that CRP fluctuations may indicate how behavioral stress affects animal welfare. As part of a […]

Redefining human-animal relationships: an evaluation of methods to allow their empirical measurement in zoos

Scientific studies of human-animal interactions (HAIs) and how these develop into human-animal relationships (HARs) now represent some of the most significant contributions to animal welfare science. However, due to the current definition of HAR, studies have only been able to measure HAIs and infer its impact on HARs and animal welfare. Here, we redefine HARs […]

A review of injuries caused by elephants in captivity: an examination of predominant factors

Injuries to people caused by elephants in zoos can be lethal. Data on incidents of injury to keepers and visitors were collated from newspaper articles, personal communications with zoo directors and keepers, and published information from the European Elephant Group. Although the data were not of consistent quality and detail across the three sources, the […]

Low environmental temperature causes an increase in stereotypic behaviour in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)

(1) Captive Asian elephants exhibited a strong negative correlation between maximum daily temperature and the frequency of stereotypic behaviour, in those animals predisposed to exhibit stereotypies. (2) The frequency of stereotypic behaviours increased throughout each study day (1000–1400 h), reaching maximum values at the end of the day, asfeeding time approached. (3) The frequenciesof stereotypic […]

The Effects of Visitor Density and Intensity on the Behavior of Two Captive Jaguars (Panthera onca)

Several researchers have reported significant effects of visitor density and intensity on captive animal behavior. This study determined whether this was the case for 2 captive jaguars housed at the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA. Subjects were monitored for changes in behavior as a function of visitor density and intensity. The jaguars were observed for […]