Preliminary Evaluation of Environmental Enrichment Techniques for African Lions (Panthera leo)

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Abstract:

A study was conducted over 24 days to evaluate the effects of three environmental enrichment techniques (frozen balls of ice containing fish, various scents, hanging logs) on four captive African lions (Panthera leo). Behavioural data on activity level and behavioural diversity were collected daily during a baseline and an enriched session. All enrichments produced positive changes in behaviour. Enrichment was also associated with increased use of space by the lions. The enrichment techniques evaluated in this study each produced distinct and positive changes in behaviour thus reinforcing the need for variety to be exercised in captive enrichment programmes. Providing different enrichments allows animals to perform a greater range of behaviours, become more active in captivity, and will decrease the likelihood of habituation to certain enrichment items. Environmental enrichment should be a part of any management protocol for animal welfare and health.

Keywords: AFRICAN LION; ANIMAL WELFARE; ENVIRONMENTAL ENNRICHMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1995

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