Thermal Imaging to Assess the Health Status in Wildlife Animals under Human Care: Limitations and Perspectives

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Daniel Mota-Rojas, Alfredo MF Pereira, Julio Martínez-Burnes, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Patricia Mora-Medina, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado, Jennifer Rios-Sandoval, Ana de Mira Geraldo, Dehua Wang
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Promoting animal welfare in wildlife species under human care requires the implementation of techniques for continuously monitoring their health. Infrared thermography is a non-invasive tool that uses the radiation emitted from the skin of animals to assess their thermal state. However, there are no established thermal windows in wildlife species because factors such as the thickness or color of the skin, type/length of coat, or presence of fur can influence the readings taken to obtain objective, sensitive values. Therefore, this review aims to discuss the usefulness and application of the ocular, nasal, thoracic, abdominal, and podal anatomical regions as thermal windows for evaluating zoo animals’ thermal response and health status. A literature search of the Web of Science, Science Direct, and PubMed databases was performed to identify relevant studies that used IRT with wild species as a complementary diagnostic tool. Implementing IRT in zoos or conservation centers could also serve as a method for determining and monitoring optimal habitat designs to meet the needs of specific animals. In addition, we analyze the limitations of using IRT with various wildlife species under human care to understand better the differences among animals and the factors that must be considered when using infrared thermography.


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