Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, IL, United States

Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, IL, United States
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Greco B.J.,University of California at Davis | Greco B.J.,Aware Inc | Meehan C.L.,Aware Inc | Miller L.J.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants' nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses. © 2016 Greco et al. This is an open access article distributed 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.

Horback K.M.,University of Pennsylvania | Miller L.J.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo | Andrews J.R.M.,Busch Gardens Tampa | Kuczaj S.A.,University of Southern Mississippi
Zoo Biology | Year: 2014

The present study examined the activity budgets of 15 African elephants (1 bull, 6 cows, 2 male juveniles, 2 female juveniles, and 4 male calves) living at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park during the summers of 2010 and 2011. Onsite behavioral data (n=600hr) were collected for approximately 12 weeks from 0400 to 0830 and 1100 to 2400 during the 2010 and 2011 summer season. Foraging was the most common behavior state during the day followed by resting, and walking. During the evening hours, the elephants spent majority of their time foraging, resting, and sleeping. The average rate of self-maintenance behavior events (dust, wallow, etc.) increased from 0600 to 0700, 1100 to 1500, and from 1700 to 1900. Positive social behavior events (touch other, play, etc.) remained high from 0500 to 2300, with peaks at 0600, 1300, 1500, and 1900. Negative social events occurred at low rates throughout the day and night, with peaks at 0600, 1900, and 2200. The majority of positive behavior events during the daylight and nighttime hours involved the mother-calf pairs. Furthermore, the calves and juveniles initiated approximately 60% of all social events during the daytime and 57% of all social interactions at night. The results of this study demonstrate the differences between diurnal and nocturnal activity budgets of a multi-age and sex elephant herd in a zoological facility, which highlights the importance of managing elephants to meet their 24hr behavioral needs. Zoo Biol. 33:403-410, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Avalos-Tellez R.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Ramirez-Pfeiffer C.,Instituto Nacional Of Investigaciones Forestales Y Agropecuarias Rio Bravo | Ramirez-Pfeiffer C.,Northern University of Mexico | Hernandez-Castro R.,Hospital General Dr Manuel Gea Gonzalez | And 7 more authors.
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2014

Infections with Brucella ceti and pinnipedialis are prevalent in marine mammals worldwide. A total of 22 California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) were examined to determine their exposure to Brucella spp. at San Esteban Island in the Gulf of California, Mexico, in June and July 2011. Although samples of blood, vaginal mucus and milk cultured negative for these bacteria, the application of rose Bengal, agar gel immunodiffusion, PCR and modified fluorescence polarization assays found that five animals (22.7%) had evidence of exposure to Brucella strains. The data also suggested that in two of these five sea lions the strains involved were of terrestrial origin, a novel finding in marine mammals. Further work will be required to validate and determine the epidemiological significance of this finding. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Holdgate M.R.,Portland State University | Holdgate M.R.,Conservation Research Division | Meehan C.L.,Aware Inc | Hogan J.N.,Aware Inc | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Resting behaviors are an essential component of animal welfare but have received little attention in zoological research. African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) rest includes recumbent postures, but no large-scale investigation of African and Asian zoo elephant recumbence has been previously conducted. We used anklets equipped with accelerometers to measure recumbence in 72 adult female African (n = 44) and Asian (n = 28) elephants housed in 40 North American zoos. We collected 344 days of data and determined associations between recumbence and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. African elephants were recumbent less (2.1 hours/day, S.D. = 1.1) than Asian elephants (3.2 hours/day, S.D. = 1.5; P < 0.001). Nearly onethird of elephants were non-recumbent on at least one night, suggesting this is a common behavior. Multi-variable regression models for each species showed that substrate, space, and social variables had the strongest associations with recumbence. In the African model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-hard substrate were recumbent 0.6 hours less per day than those who were never on all-hard substrate, and elephants who experienced an additional acre of outdoor space at night increased their recumbence by 0.48 hours per day. In the Asian model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on allsoft substrate were recumbent 1.1 hours more per day more than those who were never on all-soft substrate, and elephants who spent any amount of time housed alone were recumbent 0.77 hours more per day than elephants who were never housed alone. Our results draw attention to the significant interspecific difference in the amount of recumbent rest and in the factors affecting recumbence; however, in both species, the influence of flooring substrate is notably important to recumbent rest, and by extension, zoo elephant welfare. © 2016 Holdgate et al. This is an open access article distributed 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.

Holdgate M.R.,Portland State University | Holdgate M.R.,Conservation Research Division | Meehan C.L.,Aware Inc | Hogan J.N.,Aware Inc | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Research with humans and other animals suggests that walking benefits physical health. Perhaps because these links have been demonstrated in other species, it has been suggested that walking is important to elephant welfare, and that zoo elephant exhibits should be designed to allow for more walking. Our study is the first to address this suggestion empirically by measuring the mean daily walking distance of elephants in North American zoos, determining the factors that are associated with variations in walking distance, and testing for associations between walking and welfare indicators. We used anklets equipped with GPS data loggers to measure outdoor daily walking distance in 56 adult female African (n = 33) and Asian (n = 23) elephants housed in 30 North American zoos. We collected 259 days of data and determined associations between distance walked and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. Elephants walked an average of 5.3 km/day with no significant difference between species. In our multivariable model, more diverse feeding regimens were correlated with increased walking, and elephants who were fed on a temporally unpredictable feeding schedule walked 1.29 km/day more than elephants fed on a predictable schedule. Distance walked was also positively correlated with an increase in the number of social groupings and negatively correlated with age. We found a small but significant negative correlation between distance walked and nighttime Space Experience, but no other associations between walking distances and exhibit size were found. Finally, distance walked was not related to health or behavioral outcomes including foot health, joint health, body condition, and the performance of stereotypic behavior, suggesting that more research is necessary to determine explicitly how differences in walking may impact elephant welfare. © 2016 Holdgate et al. This is an open access article distributed 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.

Hacker C.E.,Institute for Conservation Research | Hacker C.E.,Western Kentucky University | Horback K.M.,University of Pennsylvania | Miller L.J.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2015

The potential application of GPS technology in determining relationships among social animals was addressed in this study of eight African elephants residing at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA, USA between 2009 and 2011. GPS coordinates were collected over nine 24. h periods from eight different elephants. The average distances between individuals were then calculated for the morning, afternoon and evening time periods as well as for the entire 24. h. Behavioral data were collected to calculate rates of both positive and negative interactions between elephants as well as David's scores to measure sociality. Lastly, input from the management staff regarding the elephants' social relations was utilized to determine pairs who may display high levels of social proximity as well as the construction of a dominance structure. Significant correlations were found between the social relations determined by animal management staff and the GPS morning data (r= -0.431, P= 0.022), the social relations determined by animal management staff and the GPS daily data (r= -0.401, P= 0.034), the corrected David's scores and the GPS daily data (r= 0.471, P= 0.012), the early time period (r= 0.614, P= 0.001), the morning time period (r= 0.441, P= 0.020) and the afternoon time period (r= 0.474, P= 0.012) and the rate of positive social interactions and the GPS evening data (r= -0.386, P= 0.042). These results suggest that GPS technology can be used as a proxy tool in determining social relationships. GPS devices can aid in animal behavior research by eliminating the need for an observer and thereby relieving time and staff restraints. Planning the daily management of animals around their known social groups can potentially increase overall animal welfare and safety for caretakers. For example, keeping the animals in their known social groups could decrease stress and the potential for aggressive behavior during training, transport, shifting of individuals or groups between exhibits, and general husbandry. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Therrien S.C.,Western Illinois University | Therrien S.C.,University of Maryland University College | Thomas J.A.,Western Illinois University | Therrien R.E.,EcoSmart Research Institute | Stacey R.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2012

This study investigated diel changes in ambient noise levels and the number of whistles produced by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. Automated, continuous 24-h underwater recordings were made from 1 January to 31 March 2008. The number of whistles, types of whistles, and background noise level were examined for each hour. Nine distinct frequency contours were identified, named, and analyzed for minimum frequency, maximum frequency, peak frequency, and duration. Since all pumps and filters at the Seven Seas Exhibit of Brookfield Zoo were housed in a separate building isolated from the dolphins' pools, background noise was relatively low and consistent throughout the day (95 to 98 dB re: 1 μPa). However, when the zoo staff used a scrubber to clean the pool walls, the background noise was higher and fluctuated (up to 112 dB re: 1 μPa). The dolphins whistled significantly less during these scrubbing periods. The dolphins exhibited a distinct diel pattern in whistle production. Increased whistle production coincided with increased interactions with humans during feeding/training sessions; the number of whistles peaked in the late afternoon (~1600 h) and then quickly tapered off throughout the night. The investigation began with eight dolphins; however, the death of one young male and the transport of two adult males to another facility left five dolphins: two adult females and two juvenile females along with an unrelated young male. These changes provided an opportunity to explore how social change affected whistle production. After the two adult males were transported out of the facility, two of the distinct whistle types disappeared, suggesting that each of the two dolphins had a unique whistle type. The results of this investigation highlight the usefulness of passive recording for monitoring ambient noise, as well as for documenting the activity pattern and social interactions of captive bottlenose dolphins.

Luebke J.F.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo | Matiasek J.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

Visiting a zoo or aquarium is not only fun, but can also have a positive impact on visitors' knowledge and attitudes regarding animals and the environment. The biggest challenge, however, is for these institutions to strategically provide opportunities for cognitive and affective learning while simultaneously facilitating enjoyment and fun. Recent studies in zoos and aquaria have examined various factors that can influence learning such as engaging visitors' emotions or connecting with visitors' prior knowledge and interests. The intent of the current study was to further this line of investigation and explore the relationship between visitors' predispositions and their cognitive and affective experiences and reactions as they walked through an animal exhibit. We selected three indoor immersion exhibits and one outdoor naturalistic exhibit for the study to obtain a wide range of different animals and exhibit settings. Research assistants randomly intercepted visitors leaving the exhibits and asked, among other things, the extent they experienced certain thoughts and feelings while they were walking through the exhibits. Results revealed that visitors' emotional responses to viewing animals were key experiences along with opportunities for introspection and reflection during their time in the exhibits. Implications of the study are discussed in reference to providing both fun and meaningful learning experiences for visitors. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

St. Juliana J.R.,Indiana State University | St. Juliana J.R.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | St. Juliana J.R.,Wabash College | Khokhlova I.S.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Animal Ecology | Year: 2014

Parasites are thought to have numerous negative effects on their hosts. These negative effects may be associated with stress in a host. We evaluated the effects of four species of flea ectoparasites (Parapulex chephrenis, Synosternus cleopatrae, Xenopsylla conformis and Xenopsylla ramesis) on non-specific responses of eight species of rodents (Meriones crassus, Gerbillus dasyurus, Gerbillus andersoni, Gerbillus pyramidum, Gerbillus nanus, Acomys cahirinus, Acomys russatus and Mesocricetus auratus) and measured faecal glucocorticoid metabolites concentrations (FGMC) produced by the hosts. We found no effect of body mass of an individual rodent on FGMCs. Parasitism by fleas with a 'stay on the host body' exploitation strategy was associated with higher host FGMCs than parasitism by fleas that spent most of their life 'off-host'. FGMCs among rodents infested by the same flea species were correlated positively with the phylogenetic distance of a given rodent from the principal host of this flea; changes in FGMCs were lower in the host species more closely related to the flea's principal host. Changes in FMGCs of a host while parasitized were correlated with a host's change in body mass, where hosts that lost more body mass had higher FGMCs. Our results suggest that ectoparasitism can be stressful to their hosts. However, the occurrence of parasite-induced stress seems to depend on the identity of both host and parasite species and the evolutionary history of a host-parasite association. To our knowledge, this is the first multispecies study to evaluate the effect of ectoparasites on glucocorticoid hormones in small mammals. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Rapaport L.G.,Clemson University | Kloc B.,Clemson University | Warneke M.,Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo | Mickelberg J.L.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Ballou J.D.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2013

Parental investment theory predicts that natural selection will favour a parental ability to bias the offspring sex ratio in favour of that which will yield the highest benefit-cost payoff. The local resource enhancement hypothesis posits that in cooperative breeders, parents may favour offspring that will mitigate parental effort by helping to raise younger siblings. Conversely, the fragile male hypothesis suggests that parents will adjust the sex ratio in favour of the sex that experiences higher mortality. We examined international studbook data of two cooperatively breeding primate species with differing reproductive strategies: golden lion tamarins, Leontopithecus rosalia, which typically give birth to twins, and callimicos, Callimico goeldii, which almost always give birth to singletons. The tamarins showed a stronger secondary sex-ratio bias in favour of males than did the callimicos, as predicted by the local resource enhancement hypothesis, because tamarins sustain higher per-parturition costs and because sons may invest more effort in caring for their younger siblings than do daughters. However, a generalized linear regression failed to reveal factors that may influence this variation. There was no significant predictor of male bias based on mother's age, mother's number of previous parturitions or group size. Contrary to predictions of the fragile male hypothesis, sons were no less likely to survive the postnatal period of parental investment than were daughters. A greater understanding of this phenomenon is needed because the adult sex-ratio bias in favour of males has become so pronounced, especially in golden lion tamarins, as to cause management difficulties for the conservation of these endangered species. © 2013 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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