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Individual study: Evaluation and interpretation of the effects of environmental enrichment utilizing varying degrees of sampling effort

Published source details

Quirke T. & O'Riordan R.M. (2013) Evaluation and interpretation of the effects of environmental enrichment utilizing varying degrees of sampling effort. Zoo Biology, 32, 262-268


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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 [6] found that varying the time of feeding decreased levels of locomotion and stereotypical behaviours and increased time devoted to other behaviours. In two out of five comparisons the proportion of scan samples in which locomotion was observed was lower (0.13–0.15) than under a fixed schedule (0.22) and in one out of five comparisons the proportion of scan samples in which stereotypical behaviour was observed was lower under a varied (0.03) than under a fixed schedule (0.09). However, in four out of five comparisons the proportion of scan samples in which ‘other’ behaviours were observed was higher under a varying (0.15–0.22) than under a fixed feeding schedule (0.05–0.09). Eight cheetahs housed in five enclosures were studied, three housed solitarily, two males housed together and one female with two cubs. Cheetahs were fed whole rabbits or chickens once daily at the same time, for six days a week. Data was collected over 16 days, during which food was temporally varied in eight randomly selected days. Instantaneous scan sampling was used every five minutes in varying degrees of sampling effort (ranging from 24 to nine scan samples) within a four-hour time period. Behavioural categories included exploratory, inactive, locomotion, stereotypical and vigilance. ‘Other’ behaviour category included aggression, allo-grooming, feeding, playing, standing and vocalisation.