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Caretaker Score Reliability for Personality Assessment of Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The evaluation of zoo animals’ personalities can likely lead to a range of benefits, including improving breeding success, creating stable social groups, and designing and developing environmental enrichment programmes. The goal of this study was to use caretakers scores to evaluate personality in bottlenose dolphins and to assess the reliability of scores within each rater and among raters from each centre. To this end, 24 caretakers from 3 countries (Spain, France, and Argentina), including a total of 5 dolphinariums and 6 groups of dolphins, used a questionnaire based on the Five-Factor Model of Personality to score bottlenose dolphins on a number of personality traits in three different contexts. Each caretaker evaluated the animals under their care twice, ensuring that raters did not share thoughts nor impressions with other raters. Our findings showed a good degree of agreement between each rater’s scores and a fair degree of agreement among scores of raters from the same centre. We also identified which raters and centres had significant mean score differences and detected that 4 out of 24 raters from two different centres showed such differences systematically. The evaluation of raters’ reliability and the identification of particular inconsistent raters and centres is critical to make more appropriate and realistic management decisions that, in turn, directly impact animals’ welfare
Issue: 7
Volume: 11