Along with fundamental care: what do animals need?

Marike G.
June 2, 2022

Day by day, animal care professionals are chargeable for animal welfare. However what does that imply? Properly-being has many elements, from actions and interactions, reminiscent of enrichment and studying, to with the ability to make decisions and have a side of life management. What makes you content? I like to take a seat and skim a guide, however I additionally prefer to eat with pals. How can we meet the wants of our social animals? What about singles? How do we all know what they need?

If I requested the Chelsea tiger what made her joyful, one factor she may say, if she may communicate, is that she values ​​time alone. Understanding the pure conduct of our animals permits us to supply them a fundamental degree of well-being, after which we are able to enhance from right here. Tigers are solitary, so most definitely she wouldn’t need Sparky (our male tiger) to get into her habitat whereas she is there! Now let’s ask the identical query to the little gorilla Floyd. He could be very sad with out his sisters! Animal care professionals are specialists in welfare – they know the pure conduct of their animals and know find out how to encourage this conduct within the zoo. Whereas Chelsea will not be actively trying to find reside animals (we additionally want to consider the welfare of predators), we nonetheless have to encourage it to have interaction in pure behaviors, reminiscent of persecution. For instance, feeding her a complete leg of a goat encourages this pure looking conduct. Goat’s foot is enrichment, and it is just part of well-being.

Having a alternative is one other essential facet of well-being. We at all times ask the grey parrot Larry if he needs to participate within the chook presentation. If he doesn’t voluntarily step on the keeper’s hand, we is not going to drive him. In the identical approach, along with Emory College, we conduct cognitive analysis with our orangutans. We provide them the chance to work together with a pc with a contact display screen with duties designed particularly for them, so we are able to research their reminiscence. It’s totally as much as them whether or not they’ll work together with this. If they do not wish to, they should not. An fascinating word: most of them select to work together with a pc each time! One of these cognitive problem is one other type of enrichment.

Controlling what occurs to you is one other essential facet of well-being. If we return to Larry the Grey Parrot, for example we requested him to participate in a chook presentation, and he determined to be part of it. Midway by means of, he modifies his thoughts. That is regular and we is not going to drive him to remain if he doesn’t wish to, so he has the selection to take part and management how lengthy the session lasts. Having alternative permits animals to have extra management over the setting.

How do we all know what makes animals joyful? Zoo Atlanta conducts welfare analysis to find out one of the best look after our animals, and we additionally depend on a mix of scientific {and professional} data of animal care. Though some subjects are effectively studied (which animal is social? Which is lonely?), Others want additional analysis. Some present Atlanta Zoo analysis raises questions, reminiscent of how do animals behave in new habitats? How do they react to occasions like IllumiNights? How does the noise degree have an effect on them? What’s their way of thinking?

Tune in to the subsequent put up within the Welfare sequence to learn how we ask our animals what they need.

Marike Cassia Gartner, Ph.D.
Director of the Division of Animal Safety

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