Professor from Paris 13 University Visits IHB

From November 16th to 22nd, 2019, the French researcher Dr. Fabienne Delfour visited Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) of Chinese Academy of Sciences to present her work and interact with IHB research team.  

Mostly investigating marine mammals’ behaviour, cognition and welfare, Dr. Delfour’s work focuses on both wild and captive animals. During her stay in Wuhan, she gave several presentations on topics such as the link between behavioral studies and conservation, the trainers/researchers’ team work or the scientific welfare evaluation.  

She discussed these themes with researchers and students from IHB and especially from the Yangtze Cetaceans Breeding and Research Center to think about solutions to improve captive breeding success in this endangered species.  

Mr. Moreau, the attaché for the Science and Technology of the French Consulate of Wuhan who invited Fabienne Delfour was present during presentations and participated in discussions to investigate a potential cooperation between French institutes and IHB.  

These discussions pointed out the need to validate welfare indicators for captive odontocetes like Yangtze finless porpoises, to develop the trainer/researcher cooperation for evaluating welfare and conducting cognitive experiments, or to put effort in the studies that can help understand animals behaviour, personality and emotional state.  

In addition, Delfour emphasized the crucial knowledge the Baiji dolphinarium team owns on these animals and Its usefulness. Both researchers and trainers should work together in the wild and in captivity to learn more on Yangtze finless porpoises in order to better protect them.  

Delfour introduced methods that could be used to investigate wild animals, including acoustics and behaviour. She also gave tools to monitor captive dolphins’ welfare, such as anticipatory behaviours, synchronous behaviours, personality or willingness to participate. However, since different animals/species react differently, and since only few welfare indicators have been validated scientifically, she highlighted the need to find accurate indicators to inform on animals’ emotional state.