A review of welfare indicators for sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation, with emphasis on environmental enrichment

Diggins, R., Burrie, R., Ariel, E., Ridley, J., Olsen, J., Schultz, S., Pettett-Willmett, G., Hemming, G., and Lloyd, J. (2022) A review of welfare indicators for sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation, with emphasis on environmental enrichment. Animal Welfare, 31 (2). pp. 219-230.

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For animals undergoing rehabilitation it is vital to monitor welfare in a way that is feasible, practical, and limits stress to the animal. The industry gold standard is to assess welfare under the Five Domains model, including nutrition, environment, physical health, and behaviour as the first four physical domains and mental domain as the fifth. Feasibility and effectiveness of these domains for assessing welfare of sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation were reviewed and it was determined that the mental state can be best assessed through behavioural changes. A scoping review of the literature was conducted using Scopus and Web of Science to investigate use of environmental enrichment devices (EEDs) as a measure of welfare in sea turtles. Behavioural assessments using EEDs were found to be well-documented; however, most EED studies pertained largely to livestock or zoo animals. Furthermore, studies rarely concentrated on reptiles, and specifically sea turtles. Results also showed that some welfare assessment methods may be less appropriate for short-term captivity experienced during rehabilitation. Additionally, the hospital environment limits the ability to address some of the domains (ie biosecurity, feasibility, safety of turtle, etc might be compromised). This review shows that only three of the nine environmental enrichment strategies described in the literature suit the specific requirements of sea turtles in rehabilitation: feeding, tactile, and structural. It is documented that turtles display behaviours that would benefit from EEDs and, therefore, more specific studies are needed to ensure the best welfare outcomes for sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation.

Item ID: 69436
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0962-7286
Keywords: animal welfare, behaviour, captivity, enrichment devices, marine turtle, testudine
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Copyright Information: © 2022 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2022 05:03
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300599 Fisheries sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3099 Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences > 309999 Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1002 Fisheries - aquaculture > 100299 Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified @ 25%
20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 25%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences @ 50%
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