Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Roaming, Not Hunting, Is What Pacing Polar Bears Are Missing

Date:
October 2, 2003
Source:
University Of Oxford
Summary:
Oxford scientists have found that carnivores have welfare problems in zoos because they are deprived of their naturally large territories, rather than because they are deprived of their abilities to hunt, as was previously thought.

Oxford scientists have found that carnivores have welfare problems in zoos because they are deprived of their naturally large territories, rather than because they are deprived of their abilities to hunt, as was previously thought.

Related Articles


After analysing data for 35 carnivore species, Dr Ros Clubb and Dr Georgia Mason from the University of Oxford found that polar bears, lions and other animals that would naturally roam very widely appear less able to cope with captivity than more stay-at-home species. These widely-ranging carnivores are noticeably most prone to welfare problems when kept in zoos such as repetitive back and forth pacing, and infant mortality. These results could explain why pacing polar bears are such a common sight in zoos, where they are usually kept in enclosures over a million times smaller than their natural ranging areas.

'We were surprised by the results because until now we had always thought that not being able to hunt was the biggest problem for zoo carnivores,' says Dr Ros Clubb. 'Because of this, zoos have concentrated on stimulating hunting-like behaviours to try to improve their welfare. But our results suggest that it's even more important to give these animals more space, or the day-to-day changes in environment they'd experience if they were ranging naturally.'

The researchers are calling for zoos either to improve how these wide-ranging species are kept, or to phase them out in favour of animals better suited to captive life. 'It's vital to get this right, as these animals are in double jeopardy,' says Dr Mason. 'Wide-ranging carnivores are particularly hard to conserve in reserves in their natural habitat – so it's especially worrying that they are also most prone to welfare problems in captivity.'

Notes:

This release is based on a paper by Mason and Clubb published on 1 October 2003 in Nature magazine

Georgia Mason's research group in the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, uses scientific approaches to objectively assess and improve the welfare problems of a range of animals, from caged bears in Thailand to rats and mice in research laboratories.

This study was funded by an Oxford University Pirie-Reid Scholarship, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), the International Zoo Veterinary Group, the Cotswold Wildlife Park, and the following zoos: Bristol, Chester, Edinburgh, Marwell, Paignton and Welsh Mountain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Oxford. "Roaming, Not Hunting, Is What Pacing Polar Bears Are Missing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031002060512.htm>.
University Of Oxford. (2003, October 2). Roaming, Not Hunting, Is What Pacing Polar Bears Are Missing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031002060512.htm
University Of Oxford. "Roaming, Not Hunting, Is What Pacing Polar Bears Are Missing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031002060512.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins