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Post-occupancy Evaluation at the Zoo: Behavioral and Hormonal Indicators of Welfare in Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus abelii)

By Leigha Tingey

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Abstract

An increased understanding of species-specific behavioral needs has lead zoos to focus on providing more naturalistic and stimulating environments. Scientific assessments of how changes in habitat affect animal behavior are necessary in improving overall animal welfare. This study examined the move of three orangutans housed at the Oregon Zoo into a new and innovative exhibit. Post-occupancy evaluation (POE), which offers systematic information regarding the success or failure of the built environment (Maple & Finlay, 1987), was utilized to effectively evaluate the results of the move. The collection of behavioral data and adrenal activity monitoring through collection of non-invasive saliva, urine and hair provided a comprehensive methodology for comparing changes in behavior and physiological functioning. Behavioral results showed that following the move to the new enclosure animals spent less time inactive, more time at higher elevations and utilized exhibit structures at a greater frequency. Hormonal results suggest that detection of cortisol in orangutan hair could be a useful tool for monitoring chronic stress.

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2012
Publisher Portland State University Library
Department Biology
Degree Master of Science in Biology
URL http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/open_access_etds/901/
Language English
University Portland State University
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Hormones
  4. Mammals
  5. orangutans
  6. Stress Management
  7. wildlife management
  8. Zoo and captive wild animals
  9. Zoos