Behaviour of a Captive Pair of Clouded Leopards (Neofelis Nebulosa): Introduction Without Injury

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Abstract:

The behaviour of a captive pair of clouded leopards was studied during a series of manipulations in order to devise a safe method of introduction for mating purposes. Manipulations consisted of allowing each individual unrestricted access to the other's outdoor enclosure, initially in the absence of the other individual, but culminating in joint access. Dominant activities involved sitting, lying, grooming, and adopting a low profile amongst the vegetation, The female tended to be more arboreal than the male, although both cats spent most of their time on the ground. The male marked various sites by foot-scrubbing (1–4% occurrence), which involved shuffling urine into the ground using his hind feet, This was less common in the female (< 1%). Male foot-scrubbing was most frequent on introduction nights, and in the female's enclosure. Both sexes exhibited cheek-marking behaviour, although it was more common in the male. The frequency of male cheek-marking increased in response to urine production by the female. Observations during introductions suggested that the male may assess the female's reproductive condition by stimulating her to urinate, The most marked changes in the behaviour occurred between control and introduction nights. The larger male took the initiative, and the female appeared extremely wary of his presence, striking out with her claws if he approached too closely. Although the individuals did not mate during the introductions, the method of gradual acquaintance through an experimentally induced overlap of 'home ranges' was effective, as the female was not injured even though the male had a history of aggression.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; CAPTIVE BREEDING; CARNIVORE BREEDING BEHAVIOUR; CHEEK-MARKING; CLOUDED LEOPARDS; ENDANGERED SPECIES; FOOT-SCRUBBING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1998

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