Can body condtion score, BCS, be used as a welfare and managment tool for Radiated tortoises?

Body condition score (BCS) are frequently used to evaluate animal management practises for a variety of animal species in zoological collections and for production animals. The aim of this study the aim was to applicate different body condition indices and evaluate if they can be used as a welfare assessment and management tool for captive and wild Critically endangered radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata). Measurements of body mass and shell dimensions of 203 zoo kept radiated tortoises was collected for evaluation of three body condition indices (BCI) previously published for other tortoise species. Males, females and juvenile/unsexed animals were analysed separately and additional measurements from 90 confiscated radiated tortoises in Madagascar where collected and used as a comparison to the zoo kept animals in the formula using weight/straight carapace length for the calculations for predicted weight. A body condition score (BCS) chart previously published for the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) were also applicated to some of the animals and compared with the results of BCI to evaluate if this could be helpful in assessing the radiated tortoise body condition. Two of the formulas have potential to be a part of an assessment but with some precautions and consideration, to the sex of the animal, the age of the animal and other factors that may differ depending on the situation. Suggestions on how to use the formulas and how to maximize the benefit of the formulas are also made, from a management and husbandry improvement perspective.

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Linn Lagerström

Jag heter Linn Lagerström och tillfället läser jag på distans samtidigt som jag arbetar. Det är en enorm förmån att både få studera och jobba med djur och natur som är mitt stora intresse.