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Environmental Enrichment for Australian Mammals

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Abstract:

Many of Australia's nocturnal mammals are rare or endangered in the wild. The behavioural integrity of captive populations of endangered species can be maintained through the application of environmental enrichment techniques. This study investigated the effectiveness of feeding enrichment in promoting behavioural diversity, enclosure usage and species-typical behaviours in the ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) and the yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis). Animals were observed for 300 min day−1 over three consecutive time periods: baseline (12 non-consecutive days); enrichment: (12 consecutive days); and post-enrichment: (12 non-consecutive days). The use of a live insect dispenser decreased grooming and increased out-of-sight and social behaviour in the ghost bat. Artificial gum trees promoted species-typical behaviours in the yellow-bellied glider. Enrichment for nocturnal mammals had variable results and different welfare implications for these animals.

Keywords: AUSTRALIAN MAMMALS; ENRICHMENT; NOCTURNAL; SPECIES-TYPICAL; WELFARE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-11-01

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