Technology and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2333-2581
  • Modern Environmental Science and Engineering

Development, Evaluation and Results of a Yearly Enrichment Plan in Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

 

Enrique Perlado-Campos
Mundomar, Benidorm, Alicante, Spain
 
Abstract: The development and implementation of an enrichment plan allows for better welfare in controlled environments, promoting natural behaviors and reducing behaviors associated to captivity.
  An enrichment plan for Bottlenose Dolphins started in Mundomar in 2014, in a group of 4 males and 6 females, with ages varying between 1 and 36 years.
  The enrichment devices were developed, constructed and evaluated. A total of 42 devices were newly made, not bought, and made
available to the animals during the year. The final objective was to create a catalogue with all the available devices once evaluated, classified by types of environmental enrichment.
  Evaluation of the set goals for each device was done through visual observations. Types of enrichment were differentiated using a color code, as well as the responses or attitudes obtained from the animals. The final evaluation produced a list of recommendations per individual or for the entire group, based on the success of each individual enrichment device.
  Enrichment is used currently as another reinforcement tool during animal training. An increase in the number of interactions with the enrichment items and in the expected responses of the animals has contributed to a better health status of the dolphins this past year.

Key words: enrichment plan in dolphins, environmental enrichment, dolphin’s welfare, enrichment as reinforcement




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