Journal article

The Effect of Behind-The-Scenes Encounters and Interactive Presentations on the Welfare of Captive Servals (Leptailurus serval)

Lydia K Acaralp-Rehnberg, Grahame J Coleman, Michael JL Magrath, Vicky Melfi, Kerry V Fanson, Ian M Bland

ANIMALS | MDPI | Published : 2020

Abstract

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation to such programs has not been investigated to date, and the aim of this study was to assess short-term welfare effects of varying levels of visitor interaction in two captive servals. Weekly blocks of four different treatments were imposed three times on each animal over 12 weeks, and the treatments involved (1) Presentations (serval undertaking a routine training session in a designated presentation space, typically attracting high visitor numbers), (2) Behind-the-scenes (BTS, a cl..

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