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Keeping Circus Elephants Temporarily in Paddocks - The Effects on Their Behaviour

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the behavioural effects of keeping circus elephants in paddocks. Therefore some species-typical behavioural characters and the occurrence of stereotyped movements were observed and compared in unshackled paddock keeping versus shackled keeping. The investigation includes 29 elephants (19 Elephas maximus, 10 Loxodonta africana) at four circuses located in Germany and in Switzerland.

The results showed that paddocks offered more freedom for comfort, social and play behaviour since such activities were observed more frequently in paddocks than in shackled keeping. Also, stereotyped movements were nearly absent in paddocks and very frequent in shackled keeping. In comparison to shackled keeping, paddocks were more suitable for the needs of elephants.
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Keywords: CIRCUS ELEPHANT; COMFORT BEHAVIOUR; PADDOCK KEEPING; PLAY BEHAVIOUR; SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR; STEREOTYPED MOVEMENTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1995-05-01

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