A new book co-written by a Devon-based scientist is set to become the handbook for zoo conservationists of the future.
The book – Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare – cites examples of work carried out at Paignton Zoo.
The introduction of special timetables showed how enrichment could be done on a daily basis and fitted in around all the other tasks zoo keepers have to do, Dr Vicky Melfi work with Abyssinian colobus monkeys (which won a national zoos award in 2004) and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Wild Animal Welfare Award in 2005, is also quoted. The work involved training individual colobus monkeys to take fruit juice from syringes, providing a non-invasive and more welfare-friendly method of delivering medication.
Dr Melfi said: “The keeping of zoo animals is a vital tool in the conservation of some of the world’s most fascinating species. Our book shows how zoos operate on a day-to-day basis, how they play their part in conserving biodiversity and how we can apply our understanding of animal behaviour to the care of zoo animals to ensure they have good welfare.
“The book is aimed at both students and zoo animal professionals. It could become the standard text on zoos for universities and colleges around the world – it has already been adopted as a recommended textbook on Paignton Zoo’s own masters course and at both the University of Plymouth and the University of Exeter.”