You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Environmentally enriching American mink (Neovison vison) increases lymphoid organ weight and skeletal symmetry, and reveals differences between two sub-types of stereotypic behaviour / About

Environmentally enriching American mink (Neovison vison) increases lymphoid organ weight and skeletal symmetry, and reveals differences between two sub-types of stereotypic behaviour

By María Díez-León, Steve Bursian, David Galicia, Angelo Napolitano, Rupert Palme, Georgia Mason

View Resource (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Enrichment studies for wild carnivores (e.g., in zoos) are often short-term, use enrichments of unknown motivational significance, and focus on glucocorticoids and stereotypic behaviour (SB), ignoring other stress-relevant variables. Our study assessed the broad behavioural and physiological effects of enriching American mink—a model carnivore—with preferred stimuli long-term, and investigated the welfare implications of individual differences in SB. We raised 64 male-female pairs with or without enrichment. At 7 months, pairs were split and mink individually housed (adults being solitary), first by being temporarily moved to identical non-enriched cages (permitting observation blind to rearing condition). Two weeks later, one mink per original pair (half female, half male) was returned to his/her rearing cage for re-observation, sample collection for faecal cortisol metabolite (FCM) analysis, and additional research for 1.5 years before being humanely killed. Stress-sensitive variables were then measured post-mortem. Enriched-raised mink in their rearing conditions excreted less FCM (F1,29=8.33, p=0.003), and performed less SB than non-enriched mink. Two SB sub-types occurred: (1) ‘loco’ stereotypies: locomotor, whole body and head stereotypies (e.g., pacing, nodding), previously shown to correlate with recurrent perseveration; and (2) repetitive scrabbling with the forepaws. Enriched housing reduced both (at 7 months: loco stereotypies: F1,60=25.3, p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 177
Pages 59-69
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.12.002
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Asymmetry
  3. Carnivores
  4. Corticosteroids
  5. Enrichment
  6. Immunity
  7. United States of America