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Comparison between 28 zoological parks: stereotypic and social behaviours of captive brown bears ( Ursus arctos )

By S. Montaudouin, G. le Pape

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In the present study we compared 33 enclosures in 28 parks, with a total of 66 bears. We chose direct observation of behaviour rather than surveys. Each enclosure was observed during one day; stereotypies and social relationships were qualitatively noted in types and amount. The connections of behaviour with bears characteristics and types of management were established. Young bears exhibited fewer stereotypies than adult ones, especially if these adults were kept indoor at night. Contrary to stereotyped pacing and circling, head-tossing was more frequent in young subjects. Occurrences of stereotypical behaviour were more numerous during the afternoon, especially if animals received a single main feed in the evening. Whereas circling was observed only in bears kept with related fellows, pacing was more frequent when they were kept with unrelated. Neither social isolation nor sex did influence stereotypies. Keeping more than two bears together was a source of social conflict. These results suggest some recommendations for housing and management of captive brown bears.

Date 2005
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 92
Issue 1/2
Pages 129-141
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Faculte des Sciences et Techniques, DESCO, Parc de Grandmont, 37200 Tours, France.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Bears
  5. Belgium
  6. Developed countries
  7. Europe
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Mammals
  11. Mediterranean region
  12. OECD countries
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Social behavior
  15. Zoo and captive wild animals
  16. Zoological gardens
  17. Zoos
  1. peer-reviewed