Skip to main content

Recent Research – BSc (Hons) Animal Management

Impact of visitor numbers on the behaviour and cortisol levels of white rhino at Longleat safari park – Victoria Barsham, Mandy Tamba and Kerry Hunt

This study looked at how an increase in visitor numbers impacted the stress levels and behaviour of a herd of four rhino. Research was collected during August and September to compare peak visitor numbers to the lower term time values. Whilst changes in behaviour and also cortisol level were observed this was not due to visitor numbers. This showed that the amount of visitors present did not seem to impact on the welfare of these rhino; however, more research into the factors effecting the stress level on these animals in captivity is required.

A review of the impact of nocturnal enrichment for Asian elephants at Woburn safari park – Stephanie Bignell, Paul Rose & Kerry Hunt

Enrichment is commonly provided in zoological collections for the majority of species housed and lots of research has been conducted into how effective these are during normal opening hours. There is, however, limited research on the effectiveness of enrichment left in the animals enclosure overnight even though this makes up the majority of their day – from 5pm to 8am in most cases. This research showed that the elephants were utilising enrichment devices throughout the night, even when the objects no longer contained food items. On average, the elephants spent 20% of their time interacting with the boomer ball provided even when it had been emptied. Further research on non-food based enrichment preference would be of benefit here.

Comparison of salivary cortisol levels of police, gun and assistance dogs – Tara Humphries, Emma Skirrow, Lorna Cameron and Kerry Hunt

Salivary cortisol was collected from 10 police, 10 gun and 10 assistance dogs after they had completed a training task that would be considered part of their normal routine. Salivary cortisol results showed that assistance dogs had significantly higher cortisol levels than the other working dog categories. The data also showed that sex and age had an impact on cortisol levels with females and older dogs recording higher cortisol levels in this study.

The relationship between body condition score and lameness in dairy cattleGemma Isaac, Roger Coffin, Lorna Cameron and Kerry Hunt

A herd of 49 dairy cattle were observed over summer 2013 with data collected on their gait and body condition score (BCS). There was a relationship between BCS and lameness as animals with a lower body condition score were more likely to be lame; however, it is unclear if lowered BCS increased lameness or lame animals BCS decreased. Age, breed and lactation stage all impacted on the relationship between BCs and lameness.

Investigating nutrient provision and digestibility of red-crested turaco diets across several UK collectionsAlex Hulbert, Kerry Hunt and Paul Rose

Red crested turacos diets from five different UK collections and compared them to the current husbandry guidelines. Digestibility of the diets was also analysed using directly collected samples. No significant differences were observed in fibre or protein provision between collections; however, there was a significant difference in copper values which is important as copper is used to maintain plumage colouration. Overall, longer term studies are recommended; however, from the data collected collections should be increasing fibre provision to turacos as this is currently lower than the recommended amounts.

  • 2014/15 BSc (Hons) Animal Management dissertation topics

    • Nutritional analysis of sun bear diets across the UK zoological establishments
    • An investigation to see if the effect of keeper presence on social hierarchy and behaviours in captive wolves
    • UVB permeability through captive snake skins
    • Determining the impact of treat provision on body condition scoring and health issues in the domestic dog
    • Public perceptions of the modern zoo: Evaluating opinions on the awareness of zoo’s and their roles
    • Visitor and keeper impacts on behavioural diversity and enclosure utilisation in captive wolf packs
    • Changes in distribution and density of cetaceans in the North sea
    • Changes in distribution and density of cetaceans in the English channel or Irish sea
    • Influence of nutritional content of food sources on the territory sizes of Cayman Island blue iguanas
    • Review of the threats facing British hedgehogs
    • Positive vs. negative reinforcement; review of the efficiency of different training method for training donkeys
    • Effect of enrichment provision on the behaviour and enclosure utilisation of pygmy goats
    • Impact of different grooming methods on cortisol and behaviour
    • Impact of visitor noise levels on the behaviour and enclosure use in ring tailed lemurs
    • Effects of observer distance on wild Javan slow Loris behaviour
    • Comparison of diets and digestibility of black and white lemurs in UK collections
    • Development of faecal egg count training and management: review of systems of sustainable equid parasite control
    • Investigation into activity and stress levels of cats housed in boarding establishments
    • Food source selection and behaviour in Western honey bees; Natural vs. synthetic
    • Impact of hiding space on activity levels and enclosure use of wolves
    • Investigation into enclosure use and behavioural patterns of Chinese water dragons
    • Nutritional analysis of captive diets fed to blue and gold macaws
    • Impact of staff and visitor numbers on the behaviour and enclosure utilisation of penguin species
    • Partner preference in horses
    • Inter and intra specific interactions of specific shark species in mixed species aquarium
    • Behavioural impact and utilisation of indoor vs. outdoor space in captive meerkats
    • Clinical vs naturalistic: effect of tank set up on the behaviour of big bellied seahorses
    • Impact of early socialisation in puppies on the rate of behavioural problems identified by owners later
    • Partner preference in captive giraffes
  • 2014/15 BSc (Hons) Applied Animal Behaviour dissertation topics

    • Hide and Seek: Does hiding opportunity in an outdoor enclosure alter the behavioural repertoire of captive guinea pigs?
    • Do cats housed in pairs in a cattery show more abnormal behaviours than cats housed individually?
    • Olfactory Social Enrichment in Emperor Tamarins
    • Attitudes towards animal sentience and welfare: Is there a difference between demographics and attitudes?
    • A study of lateralisation during urination in gundog breeds (Canis familiaris): Does lateralisation indicate personality?
    • Effects of Rehoming on the Incidence of Anxiety in Rescue Dogs (Canis familiaris) following Adoption
    • Interspecies Relationships, a Study on Spatial Use and Social Behaviour in a Mixed Species Enclosure
    • To graze or not to graze: Foraging preferences in the Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris) between graze and browse rich environments
    • Do high levels of visitors around a water hole affect the behaviour of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Addo Elephant Park in South Africa?
    • Dog obesity: Do dog owners correctly body-condition-score their dog and is this related to owner classified dog attractiveness?
    • Effects of olfactory enrichment on activity levels in the grey wolf (Canis lupus)