years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Animals Asia supports welfare improvements in Chinese Zoos
Experts speak at Behavioural Management workshop
In August 2011 we were pleased to provide support for three experts in captive animal management to attend and speak at the China Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) “Behavioural Management” workshop in Beijing.
Our support allowed experts, Dr Heather Bacon, Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach Manager (Animals Asia & University of Edinburgh), Margaret Whittaker (Active Environments) and Valarie Tyne (Premier Veterinary Consulting) to present their experience and expertise on the assessment of welfare and behavioural management techniques in captive animals.
Delegates from across China involved in captive animal care, attend the CAZG workshop.
Peter Li, Humane Society International facilitates as Dr Heather Bacon from Animals Asia presents.
Valarie provided Chinese zoo delegates with a review of abnormal behaviours in captive animals, suggestions as to ways in which zoo staff can identify and interpret these behaviours, information on the sources of such behaviour including brain dysfunction, developmental, genetic factors, stressors such as impoverished environment and early weaning, and details of prevention through the provision of complex environments.
Heather provided the delegates with details of the physiological impacts of sub-optimal welfare on animal health and behaviour, including reduced reproduction and reduced immune function. She also spoke about how to assess if animal management practices are meeting animal needs, and methods to assess the impact of sub-optimal welfare on animals. Heather also provided delegates with details of how to measure animal welfare through the use of ethograms and activity budgets, faecal and hair cortisol levels, longevity, reproductive success, disease prevalence and immunocompetence.
Margaret provided advice from a practical management point of view, including the development and implementation of an integrated behavioural management program; behavioural protocols and comprehensive and integrated environmental enrichment programs to address sub-optimal welfare and to avoid/preclude abnormal behaviours. She used a problem solving exercise to encourage delegates to assess examples of abnormal behaviors such as aggression, self-directed behaviour and stereotypic behaviour, and to encourage delegates to develop appropriate methods to address them.
We were delighted to provide this further support to the CAZG and its member zoos and we will continue to provide expert advice on issues of animal management to help improve the welfare of animals in captivity.
We thank the Humane Society International for facilitating this support with the CAZG.