Care & Enrichment of Captive Animals BIOL5333

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will give the student a critical understanding of how welfare issues can be addressed through enrichment, responsible husbandry and appropriate design of the enclosure/cage. This course will cover enrichment strategies, husbandry techniques, health assessment and genetic aspects of captive animals.

Students will have the opportunity to visit a range of settings where animals are kept in order to see and discuss care issues at a research laboratory, zoo, farm and wildlife rescue centre and see practical solutions first hand.


The teaching will be over two weeks, three 4-hour teaching slots each

Requirements of Entry

Please refer to the current postgraduate prospectus 

Excluded Courses



BIOL5126 Key Research Skills (Semester 1)

BIOL5115 Animal Welfare Science (Semester 1), BIOL 5114 Animal Ethics (Semester 2) and BIOL5127 Animal Legislation & Societal Issues (Semester 2) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science


A written report either designing an evidence-based husbandry/enrichment protocol or designing accommodation for a specific case, critically reflecting on different possibilities and practicalities in real life situation and justify the proposed design in terms of ethical, legal and welfare considerations (2000 words).

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to provide students with a critical awareness of issues relating to care for captive animals, relate these to legislation and welfare science, understanding of the underlying principles that will guide enrichment and the design of enclosures and encourages students to creatively think about their own solution to welfare issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Critically discuss animal welfare issues related to keeping animals in captivity with respect to the primary literature:

■ The theories and principles underlying the design of animal husbandry approaches.

■ The importance of genetic considerations and apply these principles to captive breeding.

■ The techniques available to assess the health status of captive animals

■ The relevant key enrichment pathways and ability to critically evaluate choice of enrichment options appropriate to a given problem,

■ How enrichment and enclosure design impacts on the animal's welfare.

■ Key issues in environmental enrichment for animal welfare, with respect to home office and EU requirements

■ Latest developments in research on environmental enrichment

■ Principles of welfare in the design of novel animal enclosures/cages/animal research facilities

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.