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 following.

Action Category

Carnivores: Hide food around enclosure

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals
  1. Carnivores: Hide food around enclosure

    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.

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