DAY AND NIGHT

There are many differences between the wide variety of species of different taxonomic groups which are housed in zoos, wildlife centers, research facilities and as companion animals in people's homes. Geographical area, the weather, and the type and quality of indoor and outdoor housing, affects animal welfare. Most human beings are active during the day, while many species of animals housed in captivity are active at dawn, dusk, or during the night. What are these animals doing at night? Data collection is often done during the hours in which humans are most comfortable being awake, so we know little about night-time habits. It is critical that we monitor animal behaviour throughout the day, for example to ensure we are providing animals with comfort (physical and psychological) while resting and sleeping. We know that good sleep is vital for good wellbeing.

How do we ensure the best quality of care, with choice and control for animals over a 24/7 period if human working hours are often only 8 hours out of 24? What do animals do when human beings are not around – for some it may improve their welfare, but for others careful monitoring and provision of resources may be better for them. There are many questions and opportunities that need answering with regards to day and night experiences of animals in captivity.