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Zoo Logic

Mar 14, 2024

Recently, the open access scientific journal Animals published a special issue entitled: Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior.  Many of the peer-reviewed papers within this special issue focus on and in some instances call for improvements to animal welfare assessment, husbandry, training, housing, and overall management. The goal of the invited editors, which includes the host of Zoo Logic, was to highlight advances and current best practices across a range of species, and to inspire further progress, while also addressing public perceptions and expectations of zoos and aquariums. One such paper, "A Reexamination of the Relationship between Training Practices and Welfare in the Management of Ambassador Animals," by lead author, and long time trainer and founder of Natural Encounters, Steve Martin and veterinarian and researcher, Dave Miller (and yours truly) examines the history and current state of ambassador animal welfare and the need for choosing the right species and individual animals for such programs (and avoiding the wrong ones). The authors make no secret that animal ambassador welfare has generally not kept pace with other advancements in zoo animal well being. It is vital that zoological facilities devote the necessary resources in terms of time, money, animal selection, and staff training to properly handle and ensure the best welfare outcomes for these animals with a unique role.

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