• Assessing the behaviour, welfare and husbandry of mouse deer (Tragulus spp.) in European zoos

      Lemos de Figueiredo, Ricardo; Hartley, Matthew; Fletcher, Alison W; University of Chester; Yorkshire Wildlife Park
      Mouse deer are primitive, forest ungulates found in Asia and Africa. Both the lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus) and the Philippine mouse deer (T. nigricans) are managed in European zoos, but inconsistent breeding success between institutions, high neonatal mortality and a general lack of research on their husbandry and behaviour were identified by the coordinators of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and the European Studbook (ESB) for each species, respectively. This study is the first to provide a behavioural description for the Philippine mouse deer and to compile a detailed behavioural repertoire for both species. Our aim was to identify the effects of current husbandry and management practices on the reproduction, behaviour and welfare of zoo-housed mouse deer. Questionnaires on husbandry and management practices were sent to all institutions in the EEP and ESB for the lesser and Philippine mouse deer, respectively, and behavioural data were collected in 15 of these zoos. For the lesser mouse deer, results show a positive effect of vegetation cover on breeding success, foraging and moving behaviours. The provision of enrichment and presence of water ponds also positively affected these behaviours. The time that pairs spent in close proximity had a negative effect on breeding success, but animals in more vegetated enclosures spent less time in close proximity to each other. Results could be partially explained by the natural habitat of this usually solitary species being tropical forest, which provides local water sources and undergrowth for cover from predators. For the Philippine mouse deer there were differences in activity measures recorded between zoos, but the sample size was small with differences in training, enrichment and vegetation cover likely to have been important. In conclusion, since mouse deer inhabit overlapping male and female territories, the usual practice of housing breeding pairs together may be appropriate, but we suggest that they should be provided with opportunities to avoid each other in complex enclosures with ample vegetation cover to maximise their natural behavioural repertoire and breeding success.
    • Conceptual and methodological issues relating to pain assessment in mammals: the development and utilisation of pain facial expression scales.

      McLennan, Krista M.; Miller, Amy, L.; Dalla Costa, Emanuela; Stucke, Diana; Corke, Murray J.; Broom, Donald M.; Leach, Matthew C.; University of Chester; Newcastle University; c Università degli Studi di Milano; Havelland Equine Clinic; University of Cambridge (Elsevier, 2019-06-12)
      Effective management of pain is critical to the improvement of animal welfare. For this to happen, pain must be recognised and assessed in a variety of contexts. Pain is a complex phenomenon, making reliable, valid, and feasible measurement challenging. The use of facial expressions as a technique to assess pain in non-verbal human patients has been widely utilised for many years. More recently this technique has been developed for use in a number of non-human species: rodents, rabbits, ferrets, cats, sheep, pigs and horses. Facial expression scoring has been demonstrated to provide an effective means of identifying animal pain and in assessing its severity, overcoming some of the limitations of other measures for pain assessment in animals. However, there remain limitations and challenges to the use of facial expression as a welfare assessment tool which must be investigated. This paper reviews current facial expression pain scales (“Grimace Scales"), discussing the general conceptual and methodological issues faced when assessing pain, and highlighting the advantages of using facial expression scales over other pain assessment methods. We provide guidance on how facial expression scales should be developed so as to be valid and reliable, but we also provide guidance on how they should be used in clinical practice.
    • The development of a facial expression scale using footrot and mastitis as models of pain in sheep

      McLennan, Krista M.; Rebelo, Carlos J. B.; Corke, Murray J.; Holmes, Mark A.; Leach, Matthew C.; Constantino-Casas, Fernando; University of Chester; University of Cambridge; Newcastle University (Elsevier, 2016-01-19)
      Management of pain in sheep is limited by the challenges of recognising and accurately quantifying 35 pain in this species. The use of facial expression scoring to assess pain is a well-utilised, practical tool 36 in both humans and non-human animals. The objective of this study was to develop a standardised 37 facial expression pain scale for adult sheep, that could be used reliably and accurately to detect pain 38 associated with naturally occurring painful diseases, such as footrot and mastitis. We also investigated 39 whether the scale could be reliably and accurately utilised by observers after training, enabling the 40 development of an on-farm pain assessment tool. The Sheep Pain Facial Expression Scale (SPFES) 41 was able to correctly identify sheep suffering from disease with a high degree of accuracy (AUC; 42 Footrot: 0.81, Mastitis: 0.80). Diseased sheep scored higher on the scale than controls on the day of 43 disease identification (P<0.05) and diseased sheep showed changes in their facial expression after 44 treatment (P<0.001). The abnormal facial expressions of diseased sheep reduced over time, and at 45 recovery were in line with control sheep. Control sheep did not change their facial expression over 46 time. Five scorers who were trained to use the developed scale also assessed the facial expressions of 47 sheep. The scorers were blind to treatment and session. Scorers reliably (ICC: 0.86) and accurately (α 48 = 0.86) identified changes in the facial expression of sheep with footrot over time (P<0.05), and 49 scored control sheep consistently low over time. The SPFES offers a reliable and effective method of 50 assessing pain in sheep after minimal training.
    • Evidence that zoo visitors influence HPA activity in spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyii rufiventris)

      Davis, Nicolas; Schaffner, Colleen; Smith, Tessa E.; University College Chester (Elsevier, 2005-02)
      This article discusses the relationship between visitor numbers to a zoo and activity in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis of the animals.
    • Impact of tank background on the welfare of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis (Daudin)

      Holmes, Andrew M.; Emmans, Christopher J.; Jones, Niall; Coleman, Robert C.; Smith, Tessa E.; Hosie, Charlotte A.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-09-14)
      The captive environment of a laboratory animal can profoundly influence its welfare and the scientific validity of research produced. The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) is a common model organism, however current husbandry guidelines lack supporting quantitative evidence. The visual environment is a fundamental aspect of a captive animal’s housing and may affect a number of physiological and behavioural responses. This is particularly important for species such as X. laevis where cryptic camouflage is a fundamental defence mechanism. Here male (n = 16) and female (n = 20) X. laevis were housed in tanks with ecologically relevant (black) and non-relevant (white) background colours and physiological and behavioural responses observed. Higher levels of water-borne corticosterone were observed in tanks with a white background compared to a black background in females (p = 0.047). Increased atypical active behaviours (Swimming: p = 0.042; Walling: p = 0.042) and a greater degree of body mass loss (p < 0.001) were also observed in the white background condition. Together these responses are indicative of increased stress of X. laevis when housed in tanks with a non-ecologically relevant background compared to an ecologically relevant background and suggest refined tank background colour may improve welfare in this species.
    • Principal Component Analysis as a Novel Method for the Assessment of the Enclosure Use Patterns of Captive Livingstone’s Fruit Bats (Pteropus livingstonii)

      Smith, Tessa E; Stanley, Christina R; Hosie, Charlotte A; Edwards, Morgan J; Wormell, Dominic; Price, Eluned; University of Chester; Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
      The Spread of Participation Index (SPI) is a standard tool for assessing the suitability of enclosure design by measuring how captive animals access space. This metric, however, lacks the precision to quantify individual-level space utilization or to determine how the distribution of resources and physical features within an enclosure might influence space use. Here we demonstrate how Principal Component Analysis (PCA) can be employed to address these aims and to therefore facilitate both individual-level welfare assessment and the fine-scale evaluation of enclosure design across a range of captive settings. We illustrate the application of this methodology by investigating enclosure use patterns of the Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii) population housed at Jersey Zoo. Focal sampling was used to estimate the time each of 44 individuals in the first data collection period and 50 individuals in the second period spent in each of 42 theoretical enclosure sections. PCA was then applied to reduce the 42 sections to five and seven ecologically relevant “enclosure dimensions” for the first and second data collection periods respectively. Individuals were then assigned to the dimension that most accurately represented their enclosure use patterns based on their highest dimensional eigenvalue. This assigned dimension is hereafter referred to as the individual’s Enclosure Use Style (EUS). Sex was found to be significantly correlated with an individual’s EUS in the second period, whilst age was found to significantly influence individual fidelity to assigned EUS. When assessing the effect of resource location on group-level preference for certain sections, the presence of feeders and proximity to public viewing areas in period one, and feeders and heaters in period two, were positively correlated with space use. Finally, individual EUS remained consistent between both data collection periods. We interpret these results for this species in the context of its observed behavioural ecology in the wild and evaluate the degree to which the current captive enclosure for this population allows for optimal individual welfare through the facilitation of spatial choice. We then explore how these methods could be applied to safeguard captive animal welfare across a range of other scenarios.