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Pond use by captive African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) in an immersive exhibit adjacent to human bathers

By L. Ozella, L. Favaro, I. Carnovale, D. Pessani

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Nonhuman animals in zoos are exposed to a continuous human presence, which affects their behaviors and welfare. However, little is known about what role the "visitor effect" has on penguins in captivity. The African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus) is an endangered species commonly housed in zoos worldwide. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the abundance of human bathers could reduce the average time spent in the water of a colony of African penguins housed in an exhibit where their pond habitat was adjacent to a swimming pool. Observations were carried out on 7 penguins in the summer of 2009. Data were collected during 3 time periods (Time 1 [T1]=opening of the swimming season, Time 2 [T2]=core of the season, Time 3 [T3]=late season) of 14 days each. The human disturbance caused by bathers strongly reduced the pond use by penguins at T1 and T2, especially when there were large numbers of visitors. However, at T3, we observed that the overall use of the pond by penguins increased, and the average duration of their diving was no longer dependent on the number of visitors.

Date 2015
Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 303-309
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2014.977384
URL https://iris.unito.it/handle/2318/150005
Language English
Author Address Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Torino, Via Accademia Albertina 13, 10123 Turin, Italy.livio.favaro@unito.it
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Aviaries
  4. Birds
  5. Endangered species
  6. Gardens
  7. open access
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Penguins
  10. summer
  11. swimming
  12. vertebrates
  13. World
Badges
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed