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Individual study: Effect of bungee‐carcass enrichment on behavior and fecal glucocorticoid metabolites in two species of zoo‐housed felids

Published source details

Ruskell A.D., Meiers S.T., Jenkins S.E. & Santymire R.M. (2015) Effect of bungee‐carcass enrichment on behavior and fecal glucocorticoid metabolites in two species of zoo‐housed felids. Zoo Biology, 34, 170-177


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Carnivores: Provide devices to simulate live prey, including sounds, lures, pulleys and bungees Management of Captive Animals

A small replicated, before-and-after study in 2006 of tigers Panthera tigris and cougars Felis concolor in a zoo in the USA found that when fed a partial carcass on a bungee, pacing behaviour decreased and walking behaviour increased in cougars, while the frequency of pacing and other behaviours increased in tigers compared to before providing a bungee carcass. In cougars, pacing behaviours decreased (6%) and walking behaviours increased (6%) when fed a carcass on a bungee compared to pre-enrichment (pacing: 32%, walking: 2.5%). Tigers showed an increase in pacing (8.5%) and ‘other’ behaviours (aggressive, social, interactive, stalking and jumping) (15%) compared to pre-enrichment (pacing: 4%; other: 11.5%). The tigers pacing behaviour increased during the first provision and decreased on the second provision, indicating the initial increase was due to unfamiliarity with the object. Faecal glucocorticoid metabolites did not vary throughout the testing period. Four felids, housed in pairs were fed a skinned deer rump individually on a 120 cm bungee cord. Behaviour was recorded every two minutes using instantaneous scan sampling over three hours, during pre- and post-treatment. Faecal samples were collected once a week for four months prior to treatment and twice a week from first treatment until one week after the second treatment.

Carnivores: Feed whole carcasses (with or without organs/gastrointestinal tract) Management of Captive Animals

A replicated, before-and-after study in 2006 of tigers Panthera tigris and cougars Felis concolor in a zoo in the USA found that when fed carcasses on a bungee, pacing behaviour decreased and walking behaviour increased in cougars, while the frequency of pacing and other behaviours increased in tigers. In cougars, pacing behaviours decreased (6%) and walking behaviours increased (6%) when fed a carcass on a bungee compared to pre-enrichment (pacing: 32%, walking 2.5%). Tigers showed an increase in ‘other’ (aggressive, social, interactive, stalking and jumping) (15%) and pacing (8.5%) behaviours compared to pre-enrichment (other: 11.5%; pacing: 4%). Faecal glucocorticoid metabolites did not vary throughout the testing period. Four felids, housed in pairs were fed a skinned deer rump individually on a 120 cm bungee cord. Behaviour was recorded every two minutes using instantaneous scan sampling over three hours, during pre- and post-treatment. Prior to enrichment felids were feed a routine commercial, supplemented diet. Faecal samples were collected once a week for four months prior to treatment and twice a week from first treatment until one week after the second treatment.