An Approach to Assessing Zoo Animal Welfare in a Rarely Studied Species, the Common Cusimanse Crossarchus obscurus

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Danielle Free, William SM Justice, Sarah Jayne Smith, Vittoria Howard, Sarah Wolfensohn
Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
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Objective welfare assessments play a fundamental role in ensuring that positive welfare is achieved and maintained for animals in captivity. The Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG), a welfare assessment tool, has been validated for use with a variety of both domestic and exotic species. It combines both resource- and animal-based measures but relies heavily on knowledge of the species to effectively assess welfare. Many zoo species are understudied in the wild due to their cryptic nature or habitat choice; therefore, the published literature needs to be supported with captive behavioural observations and zoo records. Here we adapted previously published AWAG templates to assess the welfare of Crossarchus obscurus. A total of 21 factors were identified, and the final template was used to retrospectively score the welfare of two male and two female C. obscurus at Marwell Zoo, UK, validating the use of this process for preparing a welfare assessment for a species where the published literature is scarce.


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