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Using behavior and social associations to assess the welfare of a captive flock of Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber)

Title:

Using behavior and social associations to assess the welfare of a captive flock of Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber)

Finlay, Caitlin, Weladji, Robert B. and Paré, Patrick (2017) Using behavior and social associations to assess the welfare of a captive flock of Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber). Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

While the four main roles of zoos are education, research, conservation, and entertainment, the most important goal of zoos is to ensure good animal welfare. Animal welfare is generally assessed by observing the animals for indicators of poor welfare in three categories: health, physiological condition, and behavior. A common indicator of poor welfare is decreased reproduction, which is a problem in many captive flamingo flocks. We assessed the welfare of the flamingo flock at Zoo de Granby using behavior patterns, environmental effects, visitor effects, and social associations. Our results suggest that the behavior patterns differ between a wild population and the Zoo de Granby flock. We found an increased frequency of preening during periods of high humidity, and increased aggressive behaviors during periods of increased heat and humidity. Visitor variables had an effect on most behaviors but did not affect vigilance frequency. Contrary to previous literature, several of the Zoo de Granby pairings were not maintained over time. Association strengths were not different from their previous pairings, or between the nonbreeding and breeding season. Our findings suggest that flamingo behavior is affected by captivity although we do not believe it is a negative effect. We recommend that Zoo de Granby investigate the effect of animal keeper presence and the effect of wing clipping on copulation. Our association findings allow us to provide Zoo de Granby with information regarding strongly associated pairings who should not be separated in the event of a transaction between institutions.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Finlay, Caitlin and Weladji, Robert B. and Paré, Patrick
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Biology
Date:April 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Weladji, Robert B.
Keywords:activity budget, zoo, captive breeding, welfare, Caribbean flamingo, flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, environment, weather, visitor effect, social, age, reproduction
ID Code:982420
Deposited By: CAITLIN FINLAY
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 15:04
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55

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