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Animal training in the form of cooperative feeding can be used to help manage social behaviours in group living animals, particularly during periods of aggression. Implementing positive reinforcement training in the form of target training for specific aggressors can allow keepers to maintain the focus of animals, monitor group food intake and help to reduce overall instances of aggression. Living Coasts has implemented a training programme for their ray species, to help manage food-related aggression and monitor the effect of a scheduled training event on behaviour. Aggressive instances are lower on days when training has taken place and this practise has been incorporated into daily husbandry, to maintain and monitor behavioural issues.

Project team

Holly Farmer, Paignton Zoo

Outputs

Murphy, G., Newbolt, J. and Farmer, H.L. 2018. The responses of rays to temporally predictable events. 20th Annual BIAZA Research Conference, Paignton Zoo, UK.

Davitt, M. and Farmer, H.L. 2017. The effect of cooperative feed training on aggression in blue-
spotted ribbontail rays Taeniura lymma. 19th Annual BIAZA Research Conference, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, UK.

Edgar, M., Twiss, S. and Farmer, H.L. 2012. A study into the effect of feeding routine on the behaviours and social interactions between two species of rays (Taeniura lymma and Neotrygon kuhlii). 14th Annual BIAZA Research Symposium, Newquay Zoo, UK.

Edgar, M., Twiss, S. and Farmer, H.L. 2012. A study into the effect of feeding routine on the behaviours and social interactions between two species of rays (Taeniura lymma and Neotrygon kuhlii). National Aquarium Workshop, 13th-15th November, Blue Planet Aquarium, UK.

Farmer, H.L. and Lewis, K. 2011. The development of a training programme for three ray species and its influence on behaviour. National Aquarium Workshop, Torquay, UK.

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