Date

2019 12:00 AM

Major

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Department

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

College

Agriculture and Life Sciences

Project Advisor

Julie Blanchong

Description

The environment zoo animals live in is different from the wild because food, water, shelter, and mates are provided. This could lead to zoo animals allocating their time to different behaviors. Animal welfare in zoos is important for zookeepers to monitor. My objective was to observe and compare the behavior of pinnipeds at Blank Park Zoo with the behavior of a wild seal population. I hypothesized that there would be a difference in time doing certain behaviors between the Blank Park Zoo pinnipeds and the wild population but similar to other pinnipeds in zoos. I conducted ethograms from public overlooks at the zoo and researched literature about wild pinniped behavior. I observed 7 behaviors and calculated the average proportion of time the pinnipeds at Blank Park Zoo spent doing these behaviors during zoo hours. The comparisons between the wild population and the other zoo population were not statistically different, but there were still huge differences in ranges in the percentages of foraging, traveling, resting, and grooming behaviors between Blank Park Zoo pinnipeds and the wild population. Even though there were many limitations to this study, zookeepers can get an idea on how to manage their pinnipeds based on their behavior.

File Format

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Comparing Pinniped Behavior in the Wild vs. in Captivity

The environment zoo animals live in is different from the wild because food, water, shelter, and mates are provided. This could lead to zoo animals allocating their time to different behaviors. Animal welfare in zoos is important for zookeepers to monitor. My objective was to observe and compare the behavior of pinnipeds at Blank Park Zoo with the behavior of a wild seal population. I hypothesized that there would be a difference in time doing certain behaviors between the Blank Park Zoo pinnipeds and the wild population but similar to other pinnipeds in zoos. I conducted ethograms from public overlooks at the zoo and researched literature about wild pinniped behavior. I observed 7 behaviors and calculated the average proportion of time the pinnipeds at Blank Park Zoo spent doing these behaviors during zoo hours. The comparisons between the wild population and the other zoo population were not statistically different, but there were still huge differences in ranges in the percentages of foraging, traveling, resting, and grooming behaviors between Blank Park Zoo pinnipeds and the wild population. Even though there were many limitations to this study, zookeepers can get an idea on how to manage their pinnipeds based on their behavior.