Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Implementing unpredictability in feeding enrichment for Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus)

Published source details

Schneider M., Nogge G. & Kolter L. (2014) Implementing unpredictability in feeding enrichment for Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus). Zoo Biology, 33, 54-62


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

Carnivores: Hide food around enclosure Management of Captive Animals

A small replicated, before-and-after study in 2003 of Malayan sun bears Helarctos malayanus in a zoo in Germany found that hidden food once or twice per day with scent tracks leading to empty and filled food hiding places increased foraging behaviours and behavioural diversity compared to when food was not hidden. Foraging behaviours and behavioural diversity increased when feeds were hidden once daily (foraging: 40.15%/h; behavioural diversity: 2.3 Shannon Index) or twice daily (foraging: 43.73%/h; behavioural diversity: 2.9 Shannon Index) compared to when food was not hidden (foraging: 29%/h; behavioural diversity: 1.05 Shannon Index). For three out of four bears, walking behaviour increased (21.7%/h compared to when food was not hidden (6.8%/h). Four female sun bears were observed twice daily using continuous focal sampling to assess behavioural diversity and instantaneous scan sampling to assess activity budgets. Before treatments, baseline behavioural data were recorded for the standard feeding regime. The two treatments had the same conditions once or twice per day. This included hidden food in eight locations around the enclosure and up to 12 scent tracks of cinnamon dissolved in water.