Environmental enrichment and the behavioral effects on captive Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)
Keywords:Marine mammals, Beluga whales, Environmental enrichment, Toys
Environmental enrichment methods are meant to encourage animals to display their complete ethogram while under human care in zoos and aquariums. In this study, we sought to characterize the effectiveness of environmental enrichment (involving the inclusion of toys in the living environment) on captive beluga whales in the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium. Our results indicate that belugas with toys spend less time floating and swimming repetitively than do belugas without toys. The presence of toys was also shown to enhance social interactions among captive belugas. Overall, our findings indicate that the provision of toys can enrich the living condition of beluga whales in a captive environment.
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