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Verhaltensstudie zum Handling von Wisenten (Bison bonasus)
Verhaltensstudie zum Handling von Wisenten (Bison bonasus)
For numerous tasks of breeding and to comply with the current directives against animal diseases a direct confrontation with the European bison is often necessary. Although the handling of a European bison is often considered as problematic due to the distinct wild character of the animal. It is the objective of this study to understand if a habituation of the European bison to handling is possible and helpful. Furthermore, it is researched if tentatively adapted animals show a lower value of glucocorticoid metabolites in their faeces. Additionally, 78 owners of the European bison from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been surveyed about wisent handling and care. Of these, 50 participants took part in the survey, which means a response rate of 64 %. This study serves as a supplement to existing scientific literature about handling and indications of stress of the European bison and intends to facilitate the species-appropriate contact between the owner and the wild cattle. The survey reveals that the owners still see the handling of a European bison as challenging, despite decades of experience, and would appreciate more explicit information regarding the topic. Mentioned reasons are the distinct wild animal character, the unpredictability, the increased aggression between the animals and against humans. Narcosis proves to be the means of choice for confrontations with the animal, despite the risks this method bears. The respondents assess any direct contact with the European bison, as well as veterinarian treatments, as particularly stressful for the wild animal. Although 46% (n = 23) of the respondents estimate the habituation training as possible and effective, merely two institutions have tried this approach so far. From the beginning of March to the end of April 2018 the 32 European bison of the environmental education center Haus im Moos in Kleinhohenried have been observed and filmed. The animals were categorized in two groups (trained group n = 17 animals; control group n = 15 animals). The first group was trained and habituated to the handling on overall five days with a pause of two weeks. The second group served as control group and was not trained, merely filmed once inthe end of April 2018. Both groups had to pass through four different locations and endure, in total, nine situations, e. g. vaccination, Chip read-out and confinement, under identical conditions. Subsequently the comportment was analysed with the help of the videos. The reactions to specific stimuli were therefore being rated on a points-based system. Indications of stress (e.g. vocalisation, frequency of excretion, signs of panic) were recorded and the method of time sampling, as well as focal sampling was applied. In addition, 33 samples of faeces from two European bison were collected to determine the value of glucocorticoid metabolites in the samples. The results of the analysis show evidently that the handling of the European bison can be achieved easier, faster, and stress-reduced if the animal is already used to the process. The trained animals indicate considerably less stress-related behaviours than the animals of the control group (e. g. vocalization p < 0.001; panic behaviour p = 0.01; locomotion p < 0.001; vigilance p < 0.001; respiratory rate p < 0.001; aversion p = 0.028). Direct confrontations with the habituated European bison can be absolved significantly faster (e.g. aversion duration p = 0.028; vaccination duration p < 0.001; total duration p = 0.016), due to a facilitated cooperation. The animals categorized into the training group, are gradually calmer and more accommodating (e.g. aversion reaction p = 0.02). This is called the positive training effect throughout this study. The interpretation of the statistical evaluation strikes a co-dependence of the behaviour to age, sex, and the sequence an animal is being trained. A decreased amount of stress hormones in the faeces of trained animals could not be concluded reliably, due to the small amount of examined samples (n = 2 animals). It can be affirmed that the method used to determine the amount of faecal glucocorticoid, which has only been tested out on other species, can be applied for the European bison. In conclusion, the habituation is a feasible means to support owners of European bison in handling their animals and guarantee animal welfare. However, the required time and personal effort should be considered and the species-related wild animal character and the correlated rudimentary domestication must be accepted.
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Berneisch, Marie-Luise
2021
German
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Berneisch, Marie-Luise (2021): Verhaltensstudie zum Handling von Wisenten (Bison bonasus). Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
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Abstract

For numerous tasks of breeding and to comply with the current directives against animal diseases a direct confrontation with the European bison is often necessary. Although the handling of a European bison is often considered as problematic due to the distinct wild character of the animal. It is the objective of this study to understand if a habituation of the European bison to handling is possible and helpful. Furthermore, it is researched if tentatively adapted animals show a lower value of glucocorticoid metabolites in their faeces. Additionally, 78 owners of the European bison from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been surveyed about wisent handling and care. Of these, 50 participants took part in the survey, which means a response rate of 64 %. This study serves as a supplement to existing scientific literature about handling and indications of stress of the European bison and intends to facilitate the species-appropriate contact between the owner and the wild cattle. The survey reveals that the owners still see the handling of a European bison as challenging, despite decades of experience, and would appreciate more explicit information regarding the topic. Mentioned reasons are the distinct wild animal character, the unpredictability, the increased aggression between the animals and against humans. Narcosis proves to be the means of choice for confrontations with the animal, despite the risks this method bears. The respondents assess any direct contact with the European bison, as well as veterinarian treatments, as particularly stressful for the wild animal. Although 46% (n = 23) of the respondents estimate the habituation training as possible and effective, merely two institutions have tried this approach so far. From the beginning of March to the end of April 2018 the 32 European bison of the environmental education center Haus im Moos in Kleinhohenried have been observed and filmed. The animals were categorized in two groups (trained group n = 17 animals; control group n = 15 animals). The first group was trained and habituated to the handling on overall five days with a pause of two weeks. The second group served as control group and was not trained, merely filmed once inthe end of April 2018. Both groups had to pass through four different locations and endure, in total, nine situations, e. g. vaccination, Chip read-out and confinement, under identical conditions. Subsequently the comportment was analysed with the help of the videos. The reactions to specific stimuli were therefore being rated on a points-based system. Indications of stress (e.g. vocalisation, frequency of excretion, signs of panic) were recorded and the method of time sampling, as well as focal sampling was applied. In addition, 33 samples of faeces from two European bison were collected to determine the value of glucocorticoid metabolites in the samples. The results of the analysis show evidently that the handling of the European bison can be achieved easier, faster, and stress-reduced if the animal is already used to the process. The trained animals indicate considerably less stress-related behaviours than the animals of the control group (e. g. vocalization p < 0.001; panic behaviour p = 0.01; locomotion p < 0.001; vigilance p < 0.001; respiratory rate p < 0.001; aversion p = 0.028). Direct confrontations with the habituated European bison can be absolved significantly faster (e.g. aversion duration p = 0.028; vaccination duration p < 0.001; total duration p = 0.016), due to a facilitated cooperation. The animals categorized into the training group, are gradually calmer and more accommodating (e.g. aversion reaction p = 0.02). This is called the positive training effect throughout this study. The interpretation of the statistical evaluation strikes a co-dependence of the behaviour to age, sex, and the sequence an animal is being trained. A decreased amount of stress hormones in the faeces of trained animals could not be concluded reliably, due to the small amount of examined samples (n = 2 animals). It can be affirmed that the method used to determine the amount of faecal glucocorticoid, which has only been tested out on other species, can be applied for the European bison. In conclusion, the habituation is a feasible means to support owners of European bison in handling their animals and guarantee animal welfare. However, the required time and personal effort should be considered and the species-related wild animal character and the correlated rudimentary domestication must be accepted.