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Habituation towards environmental enrichment in captive bears and its effect on stereotypic behaviours.
Linköping University, The Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master), 40 points / 60 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The benefits gained by the presentation of environmental enrichment (EE) to captive animals are widely recognized. Few studies have, however, studied how to maximize the effect of EE. Repeated presentations of EE may cause a reduced interest towards the EE device, called habituation. To study the effect of habituation towards EE, behavioural data from 14 captive Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) were collected during two different EE treatments. In treatment one, honey logs were presented for five consecutive days (ConsEE). In treatment two, the logs were presented every alternative day for five days (AltEE). The different treatments both showed a significant effect on responsiveness toward the EE, however, leaving gap days inbetween presentations in AltEE showed no reliable reduction in habituation. Both treatments significantly reduced stereotypies, however, only ConsEE reduced levels of stereotypies long term. Explorative behaviours, which are the most prominent behaviours in the wild, increased during both treatments. This is consistent with previous findings (Fischbacher & Schmid 1999, Grandia et al. 2001) that EE increases natural behaviours, which has been desribed as an indication of improved welfare (Carlstead et al. 1991 etc.). Other behavioural categories such as social and passiva behaviours were unaffected by the EE presentations. THe results show that it is possible to increase the effectiveness of EE by simple means in order to ensure animal welfare.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 33 p.
Animal welfare, explorative behaviours, extrinsic reinforcer, honey logs, Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus)
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12570ISRN: LiTH-IFM-A--EX--08/1959--SEOAI: diva2:1723
Available from: 2008-09-25 Created: 2008-09-15 Last updated: 2008-09-25Bibliographically approved

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