Biometrics of developing standards for keeping mammals and birds in captivity

B Coverdale1, JM Harris1, M Lombard2, S Hoffman1, C McCagh4

1Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, PO Box 13053, Cascades 3202
2Conservation Ecology Research Unit, University of Pretoria
3African Bird of Prey Sanctuary
4Conservation Systems

South African conservation agencies are responsible for permitting and the management of keeping wild animals in captivity. For example in the province of KwaZulu-Natal keeping in captivity of all species of indigenous birds and mammals requires a permit.  Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is required by provincial legislation to ensure that conditions in which animals are held are “adequate” and “satisfactory” and has the powers to set Norms and Standards, and must set conditions to permits issued.
International standards and policies offer guidance but there are significant differences across countries and between the different types of captive situations (such as zoos, sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres). This paper reports the results of an exercise to develop consistent and scientifically defensible standards for enclosure sizes and furnishings, and environmental enrichment requirements, for birds and mammals. In this study the nature of species (such as sociality, natural group size, activity patterns, locomotory type, size and habitat preferences) are used as the cornerstone to identify the standard needed for taxa types, and also for each individual species. A subset of these, spread across taxa types (predators, herbivores, arboreal etc), were then reviewed by a panel of experts, and the standards for each species adjusted to account for mitigatory measures that substitute for natural species requirements. These expert-moderated standards were then used to develop consistent rules for development of standards for birds and mammals.

Presentation Topic

Biometrics of developing standards for keeping mammals and birds in captivity


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