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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Comparison of several types of enrichment for captive felids

Published source details

Skibiel A.L., Trevino H.S. & Naugher K. (2007) Comparison of several types of enrichment for captive felids. Zoo Biology, 26, 371-381


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 bones, hides or partial carcasses Management of Captive Animals

A replicated, before-and-after study in 2007 of tigers Panthera tigris, ocelots Leopardus pardalis, cougars Puma concolor, cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus and lions Panthera leo in a zoo in the USA found that when provisioned with bones active behaviours increased compared to no added enrichment. Active behaviours, excluding pacing, increased when provisioned with bones (31%) compared to no added enrichment (16%). This study was conducted on fourteen felids. Baseline data was collected before the investigation and two weeks of no enrichment occurred between each treatment. Horse knuckle or shank bone were provided daily for seven consecutive days (four days for tigers). Each cat was observed for one 30-minute session/day for ten days over a period of four weeks prior to enrichment and for two 30-minute session/day over three days during treatments using instantaneous scan sampling.

Carnivores: Present food frozen in ice Management of Captive Animals

 A replicated, before-and-after study in 2007 of tigers Panthera tigris, ocelots Leopardus pardalis, jaguars Panthera onca, cougars Puma concolor, cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus and lions Panthera leo in a zoo in the USA found that when provisioned with fish frozen in ice, active behaviours increased and stereotypic behaviours decreased compared to no enrichment. Active behaviours (51%) increased and stereotypic behaviours decreased (4%) when provided with fish frozen in ice compared to the baseline (active: 16%; stereotypic: 27%). Active behaviours also increased with the provision of bones and scattered spices and stereotypic behaviours decreased with the provision of scattered spices. The study was conducted on fourteen cats. Baseline data was collected before the investigation and two weeks of no enrichment occurred between each treatment. The three treatments included: 1) horse knuckle or shank bone daily for seven consecutive days (tiger was four days and jaguar not given); 2) Trout in a frozen soda bottle, daily for eight consecutive days (tiger was five days); 3) 30 ml of cinnamon, chili powder and cumin were sprinkled around the enclosure daily for nine consecutive days (tiger was five days). Each felid was observed for one 30-minute session/day for ten days over a period of four weeks prior to enrichment and for two 30-minute session/day over three days during treatments using instantaneous scan sampling.