Short Communications
Using species-specific protocols for the welfare assessment of elephants in the Skopje Zoo
Ena Dobrikj,
Vlatko Ilieski,
Ksenija Ilievska,
Miroslav Kjosevski*

Mac Vet Rev 2022; 45 (2): i - viii

10.2478/macvetrev-2022-0019

Received: 04 February 2022

Received in revised form: 16 March 2022

Accepted: 06 April 2022

Available Online First: 04 May 2022

Published on: 15 October 2022

Correspondence: Miroslav Kjosevski, miro@fvm.ukim.edu.mk

Abstract

Providing good animal welfare standards is very important for wild animals in captivity, especially in zoos. Therefore, the aim of this study was to perform a welfare assessment of elephants in the Skopje Zoo using species-specific protocols. Two specific protocols were used for the welfare assessment and were combined for a more unified approach. These protocols focused on the assessment of the elephant’s day-time behaviour, including Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA), as well as the following sections: nutrition, physical health, environment, behaviour and management. Data was collected from the Asian and African elephants that were housed together, in the Skopje Zoo. Both species were observed for three consecutive days, during which time QBA was performed and they were observed on their daytime behaviour. Feeding (42% African, 34% Asian elephant) and anticipatory (35% African, 22% Asian elephant) behaviour were predominantly observed daytime behaviours of both elephants, as well as stereotypic behaviour (30%) of the Asian elephant. Concerning the QBA, ‘uncomfortable’ (296 Asian, 234 African elephants) and ‘relaxed’ (271 Asian, 280 African elephants) were the most dominant descriptors for both elephants. The collected data indicated that the elephants were in good physical health. Regular feeding enrichment, as well as environmental enrichment was recommended. There is room for improvement concerning the management practices of the elephants.

Keywords: animal welfare, behaviour observation techniques, zoo animals, elephants


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Copyright

© 2022 Dobrikj E. This is an open-access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation Information

Macedonian Veterinary Review. Volume 45, Issue 2, Pages i-viii, e-ISSN 1857-7415, p-ISSN 1409-7621, DOI: 10.2478/macvetrev-2022-0019, 2022