The Asian small‐clawed otter Aonyx cinereus is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the presence of visitors on the behavioural repertoire of three Asian small‐clawed otters at Cattolica Aquarium, Italy. Observational data sampling took place over two periods of 11 days each. The first period was in August when the Aquarium was open and there were visitors present (open period = OP). The second period was between September and October, on days when the Aquarium was closed to visitors (closed period = CP). Focal sampling was integrated with behaviour sampling during data collection. To evaluate the significant differences in frequency and duration of behaviours during the OP and CP periods, a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was performed. The results of this study showed that the absence of visitors stimulated significant differences in frequency and duration of activity (such as ‘locomotion’ and ‘waiting’) and social behaviours (such as ‘play’). The otters also spent significantly more time visible than ‘out of sight’ when there were no visitors present. This preliminary research provides information that may influence the way zoos and aquatic parks manage their otters, and contributes to the improvement of the welfare of animals in human care.

Effect of visitors on the behaviour of three Asian small‐clawed otters Aonyx cinereus at Cattolica Aquarium

Accorsi, P. A.
;
Petrulli, C.;Florio, D.;Marliani, G.
2020

Abstract

The Asian small‐clawed otter Aonyx cinereus is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the presence of visitors on the behavioural repertoire of three Asian small‐clawed otters at Cattolica Aquarium, Italy. Observational data sampling took place over two periods of 11 days each. The first period was in August when the Aquarium was open and there were visitors present (open period = OP). The second period was between September and October, on days when the Aquarium was closed to visitors (closed period = CP). Focal sampling was integrated with behaviour sampling during data collection. To evaluate the significant differences in frequency and duration of behaviours during the OP and CP periods, a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was performed. The results of this study showed that the absence of visitors stimulated significant differences in frequency and duration of activity (such as ‘locomotion’ and ‘waiting’) and social behaviours (such as ‘play’). The otters also spent significantly more time visible than ‘out of sight’ when there were no visitors present. This preliminary research provides information that may influence the way zoos and aquatic parks manage their otters, and contributes to the improvement of the welfare of animals in human care.
Rossi, C.; Accorsi, P. A.; Petrulli, C.; Florio, D.; Gridelli, S.; Marliani, G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/802888
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