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Which Wild Aardvarks Are Most Suitable for Outdoor Enclosures in Zoological Gardens in the European Union?

By Jiří Patoka, Markéta Vejtrubová, Vladimír Vrabec, Renata Masopustová

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The aardvark is popular in many zoological gardens in the European Union. These creatures are nocturnal, and aardvarks in the wild are known to walk distances of 4 km to 7 km per night. Despite what is known about their biology, most aardvarks are kept in zoological gardens in indoor enclosures with little space for movement. This lack of space leads to a tendency toward obesity and compromised welfare. With their wide distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa, aardvarks are perceived as thermophilic nonhuman animals. Nevertheless, some records suggest they may be able to adapt to colder climates and can be active outside their burrows when temperatures fall to 2°C. These findings suggest there may be a wild African population that is suitable for partial outdoor keeping under European climatic conditions. Therefore, a climate match was computed between the source area with aardvark occurrence and a target area of the European Union. Data revealed that the Free State, a South African province, was the area with the best climate similarity, and aardvarks from this area are recommended as suitable for the aforementioned purpose.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 1-7
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2017.1348946
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Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Climate
  3. temperatures