Assessing the Welfare of Pinnipeds

Isabella Clegg, Andrew Butterworth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


A recent increase in collaborative and independent studies on sea lions, seals and walruses has advanced our knowledge and interest in pinniped welfare. Nevertheless published discussions of the welfare of pinnipeds, and secondly of potential measures to assess their welfare, are, respectively, very few and non-existent. This chapter aims to make first steps in the discussion on assessing pinniped welfare, with the goal of stimulating future welfare investigations. Pinniped species are able to thrive in two opposing environments, the land/ice margin at the coast and in the sea, and these animals use these two ‘domains’ for different functions. Welfare measurement is concerned with the outcome of an animal’s internal and external responses to its environment, and pinniped species’ evolutionary biology may be especially important in this respect, in terms of our understanding of the animals’ responses and interactions within their two domains. Pinnipeds are being directly impacted by serious anthropogenic disturbances in the wild, including human interference at established feeding and breeding grounds, hunting, entanglement and climate change, and are also often kept in captive collections. Feasible evaluations of welfare can therefore be assumed to have potential widespread utility, including applications benefitting the animals themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarine Mammal Welfare
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783319469942
ISBN (Print)9783319469935
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameAnimal Welfare
ISSN (Print)1572-7408

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