ABS 2022
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Behavioral Measures of Humboldt Penguin Bond Strength
Julia Galante, Alaina Sommerstorfer, Susan Margulis. Canisius College, Buffalo, NY, United States

Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) form long term pair bonds and both males and females incubate and care for young. The species is considered vulnerable, and zoos collectively manage and breed the species for long-term survival. The purpose of this project was to observe Humboldt penguin behavior and space use at the Aquarium of Niagara. Since July 2020, we have used two software programs (Animal Behaviour Pro and Zoo Monitor) to collect data. We compare the efficacy of these two data collection tools, and examine space use. Both data collection tools yielded similar results with respect to affiliative behaviors. Out of the six pairs of penguins, two pairs had substantially higher rates of copulatory behavior, and one of these pairs was the only pair to raise chicks in 2020 and 2022. The newest pair in the colony spent very little time together and had low rates of copulatory behavior. Heat maps generated by Zoo Monitor provide useful information regarding location and proximity of mated pairs. Our results suggest that time spent in proximity may be a good indicator of breeding success and be useful in managed care settings to assess likelihood of reproductive success.