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New tool to monitor wellbeing of captive elephants
The tool is helping zookeepers to monitor the impact of changes in animal husbandry.

Method already in use at captive elephant facilities across the UK

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a tool to help zookeepers monitor the wellbeing of elephants in their care.

The Elephant Behavioural Welfare Assessment tool is the culmination of research published in PLOS ONE and allows keepers to track the welfare of individual elephants based on their demeanour and welfare.

The tool is already in use at captive elephant facilities across the UK, helping keepers to monitor the impact of changes in animal husbandry and develop facilities that are designed to enhance animal welfare.

Zoo and wildlife medicine lecturer Dr Lisa Yon, who led the research, said: “Our new tool provides, for the first time, a reliable way for people looking after captive elephants to use the elephants’ behaviours to monitor their welfare over time.”

The tool is to be completed by the keeper and consists of four one-minute live observational assessments, daytime behaviour questions and nighttime observations.

It was initially tested at five elephant holding facilities in the UK on a total of 29 elephants - representing alomst half of the total UK captive population at the time.

Based on the testing results, the finalised Elephant Behavioural Welfare Assessment tool was developed and is now included in the Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice Guidelines as a routine part of the welfare assessment of captive elephants across the UK.

Researchers suggest that a similar method could also be employed for other species in zoos and aquariums.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.