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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effect of a randomised enrichment treatment schedule on the behaviour of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

Published source details

Quirke T. & O’Riordan R.M. (2011) The effect of a randomised enrichment treatment schedule on the behaviour of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 135, 103-109


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

Carnivores: Change location of food around enclosure Management of Captive Animals

 A replicated, before-and-after study in 2010 of cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in a wildlife park in Ireland found that when feeding was spatially varied, pacing behaviour decreased compared to using a predictable location. Pacing frequency was reduced when food was spatially varied (0.04 mean proportion of scans) compared to predictable feeding (0.08 mean proportion of scans). Ten cheetahs were housed in five enclosures (one solitary male, two solitary females, a male pair and a mother and four cubs). Instantaneous scan sampling was used at five-minute intervals and a total of 48 scan samples were carried out per enclosure each day. Eight days of data were collected per enrichment technique, including eight baseline days. Spatial feeding involved altering feed between the back and front of the enclosure at the regular feeding time of 16:00 h. Their diet consisted of one whole dead rabbit or chicken six days per week.

Carnivores: Provide food on a random temporal schedule Management of Captive Animals

A replicated, before-and-after study in 2010 of cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in a wildlife park in Ireland [4] found that varying the time of feeding decreased pacing behaviour. Pacing frequency was reduced when food was temporally varied (0.02 mean proportion of scans) compared to predictable feeding (0.17 mean proportion of scans). Ten cheetahs were housed in five enclosures (solitary and mixed housing). Instantaneous scan sampling was used at 5-minute intervals and a total of 48 scan samples were carried out per enclosure each day. Eight days of data were collected per enrichment technique, including eight baseline days. Temporal variation included feeding at an alternative time to 16:00 h.