Nowadays, animal welfare studies in zoo animals have been focusing on the presence of species-specific behaviour and the absence of abnormal behaviour. Discussing time budgets and behavioural repertoires found in wild and zoo settings seems to be valuable to assess animal welfare. Recently, the Behavioural Variety Index (BVI) by Spiezio and colleagues (2018) has been proposed to investigate behavioural diversity, as a measure of positive welfare in animals under human care. This study aims to investigate individual and social behaviour of a pack of zoo-living grey wolves (Canis lupus). In addition, to assess the welfare of the group as well as of each individual, behavioural diversity was described through the BVI. Subjects of this study was a family pack of six grey wolves, five males and one female, housed at Parco Natura Viva (VR), Italy. Twenty-four 15-minute sessions per subject were done. A continuous focal animal sampling method was used to collect durations of behaviours. The BVI was calculated creating an ethogram (16 items for social behaviours, 13 items for individual behaviours) based on previous research on wild wolves. The time budgets of the pack revealed that wolves were out of sight for most of the time, according to the elusive attitude of the species, whereas inactivity, visual exploration and locomotion were the other most performed categories. Regarding the BVI, the wolves showed on average 60% and 70% of the items described in the literature for individual and social behaviours respectively. These percentages are mainly due to the paucity of hunting opportunities/feeding opportunities during the data collection and to the fact that low-ranking individuals perform only few dominant behaviours. Results suggest an overall good welfare and behavioural variety of the wolf pack, although environmental enrichment programmes that promote predatory behaviours might be useful to enhance the pack behavioural repertoire.

BEHAVIOURAL DIVERSITY IN A ZOO PACK OF WOLVES: INVESTIGATING WELFARE THROUGH THE BEHAVIOURAL VARIETY INDEX.

Maria Vallisneri;
2019

Abstract

Nowadays, animal welfare studies in zoo animals have been focusing on the presence of species-specific behaviour and the absence of abnormal behaviour. Discussing time budgets and behavioural repertoires found in wild and zoo settings seems to be valuable to assess animal welfare. Recently, the Behavioural Variety Index (BVI) by Spiezio and colleagues (2018) has been proposed to investigate behavioural diversity, as a measure of positive welfare in animals under human care. This study aims to investigate individual and social behaviour of a pack of zoo-living grey wolves (Canis lupus). In addition, to assess the welfare of the group as well as of each individual, behavioural diversity was described through the BVI. Subjects of this study was a family pack of six grey wolves, five males and one female, housed at Parco Natura Viva (VR), Italy. Twenty-four 15-minute sessions per subject were done. A continuous focal animal sampling method was used to collect durations of behaviours. The BVI was calculated creating an ethogram (16 items for social behaviours, 13 items for individual behaviours) based on previous research on wild wolves. The time budgets of the pack revealed that wolves were out of sight for most of the time, according to the elusive attitude of the species, whereas inactivity, visual exploration and locomotion were the other most performed categories. Regarding the BVI, the wolves showed on average 60% and 70% of the items described in the literature for individual and social behaviours respectively. These percentages are mainly due to the paucity of hunting opportunities/feeding opportunities during the data collection and to the fact that low-ranking individuals perform only few dominant behaviours. Results suggest an overall good welfare and behavioural variety of the wolf pack, although environmental enrichment programmes that promote predatory behaviours might be useful to enhance the pack behavioural repertoire.
2019
.
1
1
Irene Regaiolo, Barbara Regaiolli, Maria Vallisneri, Caterina Spiezio.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/702265
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