Promoting the wellbeing of animals in our care is at the heart of what we do. Welfare is the animal’s collective physical, mental, and emotional state over a period of time, and it is measured on a continuum from good to poor. To gain a greater understanding of an animal’s wellbeing and welfare, SEZARC assists zoos and aquariums in developing welfare evaluation programs and hypothesis-driven research to evaluate how animals behave and interact with each other and their environment.
The application ZooMonitor, developed by Lincoln Park Zoo, is a welfare assessment monitoring tool, which allows users to quantify behaviors and tie the behaviors to a location within a habitat. We have utilized this tool to conduct quantitative measurements of space using geographical information system platforms to advance our knowledge of how environmental conditions can influence how terrestrial and aquatic animals utilize their habitats. These findings highlight how habitat designs influence how the space is utilized, illustrate social partner preference or avoidance, and assist in informing future management decisions.