Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) kept in zoos rarely get an outlet for their echolocation abilities as their pool enclosures are often quite barren. Not much research has previously been made in regards to enrichments for echolocation for the dolphins. In the present study a live fish setup was compared to both a setup with floats (providing strong sonar targets, similar to the swim bladders of large fish) and a control setup. A PCL (porpoise click logger) was used to record the echolocation data produced by the dolphins towards the three test setups. Behavioural observations were also collected through video footage. Both some of the PCL data and all the behavioural observations indicated that the fish setup was more interesting, than the control or the float setup, for the dolphins to echolocate towards, even though there were some contradictions in the data with regards to some parameters, where the floats and control seemed to be more interesting. This was probably due to the location of the PCL hydrophone in regards to the floats and fish, and not because of a real bigger interest by the dolphins. To increase the possibility for the dolphins to perform more echolocation in captivity and increase their welfare, live fish would be recommended as an echolocation enrichment.
Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 06/05/16