Welfare assessment of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) using salivary cortisol measurement

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Abstract:

The measurement of salivary cortisol allows non-invasive assessment of welfare in captive animals. We utilised this technique to test the effect of zoo opening on six Asian elephants and two Indian rhinoceros at the Terra Natura Zoological Park, Alicante, Spain, during pre-opening, opening and post-opening periods. Salivary cortisol concentrations were found to be significantly higher during the opening period than during pre- and post-opening periods for both species. This method could prove a useful tool in monitoring the success of decisions taken to improve the welfare of captive animals.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; ASIAN ELEPHANT; INDIAN RHINOCEROS; MANAGEMENT; SALIVARY CORTISOL; STRESS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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