Peer reviewed science June ’16

Total of 16 papers this month covering a range of taxa. Organised by journal. Enjoy!

Journal of Zoo Biology March/April 2016 Volume 35, Issue 2– subscription required

Tetzlaff, S. J., Tetzlaff, K. E. and Connors, R. J. (2016), Evaluation of thermal regimes for transported ambassador ectotherms: One size does not fit all. Zoo Biol..

Early access to an important paper explaining how different reptiles and amphibians need differing transport conditions and one approach does not suit them all.

Ter Beest, J. M. and Schook, M. W. (2016), Estrous cycle synchronization in the Persian onager (Equus hemionus onager). Zoo Biol., 35: 87–94.


Author’s show it is possible to synchronise oestrous in the Persian onager potentially removing need for additional handling compared to other techniques

Princée, F. P. G. and Glatston, A. R. (2016), Influence of climate on the survivorship of neonatal red pandas in captivity. Zoo Biol., 35: 104–110.

It’s been long thought that the captive Red Panda survivorship is dependent on environmental conditions (ideally cold damp climate) which this study tests and agrees with using global studbook data.

Frumkin, N. B., Wey, T. W., Exnicios, M., Benham, C., Hinton, M. G., Lantz, S., Atherton, C., Forde, D. and Karubian, J. (2016), Inter-annual patterns of aggression and pair bonding in captive American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber). Zoo Biol., 35: 111–119.

American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) networks and aggression were relatively stable over 4 years, as were pair bonds. No pair bonds were established between resident and introduced Flamingos.

Kozlowski, C. P., Vickerman, E., Sahrmann, J., Garrett, T., Leonard, D., Bauman, K. L. and Asa, C. S. (2016), Parent–offspring behavior of Jambu fruit doves (Ptilinopus jambu). Zoo Biol., 35: 120–127.

Fruit doves (Ptilinopus) is a frugivorous bird with little known regarding its husbandry requirements due to it being very difficult to observe in the wild. This paper describes captive behaviours in detail.

Wallace, G. L., Paquette, L. B. and Glander, K. E. (2016), A comparison of activity patterns for captive Propithecus tattersalli and Propithecus coquereli. Zoo Biol., 35: 128–136.

The activity patterns and social interactions of two species of captive sifaka were observed during a 2-year period with various factors being considered e.g. temperature, time of day, species and inter-pair interactions all featured.

Schneiderová, I., Zouhar, J., Štefanská, L., Bolfíková, B. Č., Lhota, S. and Brandl, P. (2016), Vocal activity of lesser galagos (Galago spp.) at zoos. Zoo Biol., 35: 147–156.


The authors analysed voice calls within these primates as there is presently no information. They provide a method for sound collection and highlight individual difference between them regarding time of day and voice calls.

Orban, D. A., Siegford, J. M. and Snider, R. J. (2016), Effects of guest feeding programs on captive giraffe behavior. Zoo Biol., 35: 157–166.

First of its kind regarding visitors and giraffe welfare. 39 Giraffes across 6 zoos. Found: guest feeding had no influence on negative stereotypies; total normal feeding (with and without human access) linked to decline in negative oral stereotypies. Makes further suggestions – must read if you are Giraffe keeper!

Shelmidine, N., Murphy, B. and Massarone, K. (2016), Husbandry and propagation of the Chinese big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo. Zoo Biol., 35: 174–179.

“The female laid her eggs in July and August, and clutch sizes ranged from 5 to 6 eggs. Eggs were successfully incubated in a RCOM Juragon reptile incubator at 23.3°C with 90–95% humidity. The eggs hatched after an average incubation period of 102 days (98–105 days, n = 9). Hatchlings had a mean body mass of 8.84 g (8.11–10 g) and average carapace length × width of 36.17 × 32.20 mm.”

Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research (JZAR) Vol 4 Issue 2 – open access

The effect of the zoo setting on the behavioural diversity of captive gentoo penguins and the implications for their educational potential – Collins, Quirke, Overy, Flannery & O’Riordan

Higher visitor numbers were associated with greater behavioural diversity and pool use by Gentoo penguins so they have good educational potential.

King Penguins in Zoos: Relating Breeding Success to Husbandry Practices – Schweizer, Stoll, von Houwald & Baur

Zoos should focus on increasing density and striving toward equal sex ratios within king penguin populations to maximize breeding success. Where possible, adding outside walks should also be taken into consideration.

Managing repetitive locomotor behaviour and time spent off exhibit in a male black-footed cat (Felis negripes) through exhibit and husbandry modifications – Leeds, Stone, Johnson, Less, Schoffner, Dennis, Lukas & Wark

A low-starch diet, random feeding schedule and exhibit modification led to a decrease in repetitive locomotor behaviour (pacing).    

Response of Recirculating Saltwater Aquariums to Long-Term Formalin Treatment – Knight, Boles & Stamper

The rate of formalin breakdown changes over time so frequent testing and top-ups are required to maintain therapeutic concentrations and prevent the recurrence of pathogens.

Developing flamingo husbandry practices through workshop communication – Rose, Brereton & Gardner

Animal Welfare, Volume 25, Number 2, May 2016 – subscription required

de Groot, B; Cheyne, SM Does mirror enrichment improve primate well-being? 2016 Animal Welfare, Volume 25, Number 2 May 2016, pp. 163-170(8)

Paper suggest that mirrors can make decent primate enrichment if the primate understands its reflective properties, which should be evaluated on an individual level. Appropriate use of mirrors as sensory enrichment can improve primate well-being and prevent suffering


Applied Animal Welfare Science Volume 178 May 2016


Kristin E. Bonnie, Mabel Y.L. Ang, Stephen R. Ross: Effects of crowd size on exhibit use by and behaviour of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) at a zoo Bonnie, Kristin E. et al. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 178, 102 – 110

Long-term datasets used to evaluate visitor effects on ape behaviour and exhibit use. Chimps and gorillas did not avoid exhibit areas in closest proximity to visitors. Only self-directed behaviours differed in frequency across crowd conditions. Well-designed, modern exhibits can help minimize negative crowd effects.


Animal Behaviour Volume 115 May 2016


Giovanni Polverinoa,Tommaso Rubertob, Georg Staaksa, Thomas Mehnera 2016. Tank size alters mean behaviours and individual rank orders in personality traits of fish depending on their life stage 2016 Animal Behaviour Volume 115, May 2016, Pages 127–135

They explored the effects of tank size and life stage on fish behaviour. Average activity increases with tank size but risk taking is unrelated to tank size. Juveniles minimize risk taking and small tanks limit their escaping ability. Behavioural repeatability increases from juvenile to adult fish. Tank size affects the individual rank order in juvenile fish but not in adults. Has implications for captive breeding leading to reintroductions or general population management.

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