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Space use as an indicator of enclosure appropriateness in African wild dogs ( Lycaon pictus)

By S. C. Hunter, M. Gusset, L. J. Miller, M. J. Somers

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A clear understanding of space use is required to more fully understand biological requirements of nonhuman animals in zoos, aid the design of exhibits, and maximize the animals' welfare. This study used electivity indexes to assess space use of two packs of African wild dogs ( Lycaon pictus) and the appropriateness of two naturalistic, outdoor enclosures at the San Diego Zoo and Bronx Zoo. The results identified enclosure features that were both underutilized and overutilized. They suggest that replacing underutilized areas with features similar to areas that were overutilized may provide more preferred opportunities for the animals. Assessing space use of animals in human care may serve as an indicator of enclosure appropriateness and could have welfare implications. By looking at the possible reasons for area preferences, animal managers can get an idea of where improvements could be made. Designing future exhibits accordingly thus can provide possible welfare benefits for the animals concerned.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 98-110
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2014.884401
Language English
Author Address Centre for Wildlife Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. APEC countries
  4. California
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carnivores
  8. Countries
  9. Developed countries
  10. Dogs
  11. Gardens
  12. Humans
  13. Mammals
  14. Men
  15. New York
  16. North America
  17. OECD countries
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. Primates
  20. United States of America
  21. vertebrates
  22. Zoo and captive wild animals
  1. peer-reviewed