Marine Mammal Welfare Workshops Hosted in the Netherlands and the USA in 2012
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In 2012, two marine mammal welfare and well-being workshops were held: one from 19-21 March 2012 at the Harderwijk Dolfinarium in the Netherlands, and the other from 9-11 November 2012 at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego, California. Well over 150 international participants attended, from Europe as well as North America. Herein, we present a summary of the presentations. The aim of the workshops was to discuss topics relevant to marine mammal welfare and well-being from a holistic perspective, including training, enrichment, nutrition, habitat choice, social behavior, anatomy and physiology, acoustics, and cognition. Presenters were asked to apply knowledge and information gained from research on wild and captive animals in order to strengthen, improve, and build on existing marine mammal care programs. Many of these topics require more research for us to make evidence-based decisions on animal needs and preferences—what promotes the reduction of negative welfare and/or what increases positive welfare and well-being.
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