Incidence of infanticide among captive wildlife in some selected zoos in Nigeria

  • H.O. Jegede
  • B.N. Ogunro
  • A.B. Hanga
  • S.O. Oyerinde
Keywords: Captive animals, Animal welfare, Ex-situ conservation, Zoos, Nigeria


This study aimed at revealing the cause of infanticide among zoo collections and proffer strategies to mitigate its occurrence. Three zoos in Nigeria were studied using empirical data from 20-year Veterinary retrospective records and circumstances surrounding the occurrence. A total of 17 infanticide cases were reported from three zoos in Nigeria; 8 from UNILORIN Zoo, seven from UI Zoo and two from Kano Zoo. A total of 55 infants were found to have died during the 17 infanticide events. The Nile Crocodile accounted for the highest number of individual infant deaths, while the side-striped jackal accounted for the highest frequency of infanticide events. The occurrence was highest in carnivores, and major offenders were of maternal origins, accounting for 59% of all infanticides. Exploitation was observed as the major motive, either sole or combined with other motives. This study assessed scenarios surrounding maternal infanticide in different animal species and predisposing factors peri-occurrence. We also proposed possible solutions, especially in developing nations’ zoo settings, where this occurrence is grossly under-reported and most often neglected. Correction of observed factors linked with infanticide led to the prevention of further occurrence of infanticide in the three zoos.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2141-1778