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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Environmental enrichment for servals, Indian elephants and Canadian otters at Washington Park Zoo, Portland

Published source details

Mellen J.D., Stevens V.J. & Markowitz H.A.L. (1981) Environmental enrichment for servals, Indian elephants and Canadian otters at Washington Park Zoo, Portland. International Zoo Yearbook, 21, 196-201


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 before-and-after study in 1977 of servals Felis serval in a zoo in the USA found that when provided with a lure and rewarded for hunting behaviour, activity levels of one female serval increased compared to no enrichment. When presented with a lure, the female’s activity levels increased (59.2 min/h) compared to no enrichment (18.2 min/h). Two females and one male, housed in an outdoor enclosure, were presented with a lure, which triggered the delivery of a food reward when struck. The food would come out at the far end of the run and would often get consumed by a different animal to that which struck the lure. One of the females died before the second study period. Two observation periods were performed one year apart. Frequency of jumping, contact with lure, food consumed, threat displays and general activity were recorded using one minute intervals for one or two twenty minute sessions per day and compared to session with no enrichment.