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Maintaining behavioural diversity in captivity for conservation: natural behaviour management

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Abstract:

Behavioural management in zoos is often practiced within the confines of environmental enrichment, a well-known method which attempts to increase the welfare of captive animals. For the successful conservation and reintroduction of threatened or endangered species, however, it is also important to manage behaviour in such a way as to maintain behavioural diversity. The development of natural behaviour management (NBM) programs is advocated in this paper. These programs will act to maintain behavioural diversity in captivity and will encourage behaviour to be displayed in appropriate contexts through exposure of captive animals to naturalistic stimuli. The importance of developing appropriate antipredator and predation behaviours will be discussed in order to demonstrate how NBM strategies differ from, and can even conflict with, environmental enrichment strategies undertaken for welfare reasons.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; ANTIPREDATOR AND PREDATION BEHAVIOUR; CAPTIVE BREEDING; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; EX SITU CONSERVATION; PREDATOR/PREY RECOGNITION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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