Behaviour 2019
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Establishing the Ethology of Stranded Cetaceans to Inform Decision-Making at Stranding Events
Rebecca M Boys, Emma L Betty, Ngaio J Beausoleil, Mat DM Pawley, Karen A Stockin. College of Sciences, Massey University, Auckland, , New Zealand

New Zealand has a high incidence of cetacean stranding events, often involving extensive human intervention. However, matters of animal welfare, including effects of human intervention remain unknown. To address this, fine-scale data on stranded cetacean ethology is reported. We describe and quantify behavioural events displayed at a stranding and examine for effects of human intervention. Two individuals were filmed (x̃=150mins) using two GoPro Hero cameras mounted cranio-laterally and angled caudally. Effects of human intervention were investigated by assessing event duration with/out human presence and manipulations. A total of 6,634 animal events were recorded, involving 19 behavioural/physiological indicators. Animal 1 and 2 displayed 18 and 12 of these indicators, respectively. Indicator frequency and duration varied between individuals and over time. No significant differences were found when examining indicators displayed during human intervention. However, some indicators occurred with a higher probability during certain manipulations. These first insights into stranded cetacean ethology can be used to build an a priori ethogram for assessment at future stranding events.