Environmental enrichment in hospitalised sea turtles

Lloyd, Janice, Ariel, Ellen, Adams, Dayna, and Owens, Leigh (2012) Environmental enrichment in hospitalised sea turtles. In: Sea Turtle Health and Rehabilitation Workshop, p. 1. From: 2nd Annual Sea Turtle Health and Rehabilitation Workshop, 18-20 July 2012, Townsville, QLD, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

There has been a substantial increase in the number of stranded sea turtles in the Queensland coast in recent years. This is most likely due to the environmentally induced decline in the growth of seagrass, which is the preferred diet for these species. The level of strandings exceeded the capacity of the rehabilitation facilities at Reef HQ in Townsville and an emergency rehabilitation centre was established at the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at James Cook University (JCU) in 2011 to take the over-flow.

In the wild, sea turtles would have rocks to rub against, caves to hide in and vegetation to swim through. Hence, it was decided to enrich the environment of the tanks at JCU to enable the turtles to express more natural behaviours to enhance their health and hopefully speed recovery.

Starving turtles often present as "floaters" and have special needs regarding their environment. This pilot study explored the use of different enrichment devices and concluded that enrichment was an effective means of reducing stereotypic pattern swimming for turtles in rehabilitation and encourages more focussed bahaviour/movement.

Item ID: 25405
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2013 02:46
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 50%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8399 Other Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 839901 Animal Welfare @ 50%
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