Effect of feeding boxes on the behavior of stereotyping Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in the Zurich Zoo, Zurich, Switzerland

  • Published source details Jenny S. & Schmid H. (2002) Effect of feeding boxes on the behavior of stereotyping Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in the Zurich Zoo, Zurich, Switzerland. Zoo Biology, 21, 573-584.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Carnivores: Provide food on a random temporal schedule

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals
  1. Carnivores: Provide food on a random temporal schedule

    A small replicated, before-and-after study in 1998 of Amur tigers Panthera tigris altaica in an outdoor enclosure in a zoo in Switzerland [1], found that feeding boxes with random opening times reduced the frequency of stereotypic pacing. When housed separately and fed at a random time and place of the enclosure, time spent stereotypic pacing by the female tiger (1%) was reduced compared to a conventional feeding schedule (16%) but not by the male (random placement: 0%; conventional feeding: 3%). When housed as a pair, stereotypic pacing was reduced in both tigers (0%) compared to conventional feeding (female: 7%; male: 10%). Two tigers were studied both when housed alone and as a pair. Several electronically controlled feeding boxes were installed at different places within the outdoor areas of the enclosure. Before 09:00 h, meat was distributed to all boxes and the doors were closed. The tigers were only able to open the boxes during two random 15 minute periods between 09:00 h and 17:30 h when the doors were unlocked. Tigers were fed on three day feeding regimes including a three-day baseline (fed at 14:30 h for two days and one fast day), three days conventional feeding (fed at 14:30 h) and lastly box feeding. Behaviour was recorded for six hours on the third day of each regime using focal sampling. The study was replicated when housed as a pair.

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