Kalafut, K. L., Kinley, R. 2020. Using radio frequency identification for behavioral monitoring in little blue penguins. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 23(1), 62-73.
A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving in its current environment. Obtaining this data can be very difficult and time-consuming. New technological advances, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, may allow for data collection to be automated. RFID tags placed on the wingband of 16 little blue penguins housed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, as well as 8 antennae placed in their habitat, continuously recorded individual penguin swimming behavior. The continuous data collected via the RFID system reveals individual patterns of swimming behavior among indoor and outdoor pool areas, as well as relationships between swimming and water temperature, and temporal factors. Additionally, the effectiveness of an enrichment item meant to increase swimming time is evaluated using the RFID system. The presence of the RFID system allows for continuous, reliable data collection that can provide valuable insight regarding the quantifiable relationship between little blue behavior, environment, and overall health.