Environmental enrichment in captive juvenile thornback rays

There are few published welfare studies using animals seen in public aquaria yet welfare may be low compared to terrestrial collections and especially laboratory settings. We investigated the effect of various environmental features for there effect on Thornback Rays which are frequently seen to exhibit stereotypical behaviours. We found that preferred substrates reduced the frequency of negative behaviours as did smaller groups. We also found the rays did not use refuges and that there was considerable individual variation in preferred environments and likelihood to stereotype.

Dr Gavan Cooke EAZA Welfare advisor.


Journal Article: http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(16)30186-1/abstract




Example of the preference test set-up