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Enclosure design and space utilization by Indian leopards ( Panthera pardus ) in four zoos in Southern India

By Mallapur Avanti, Qureshi Qamar, Chellam Ravi

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Abstract

Enclosure design and the use of enclosure space influence the activity budget of captive leopards. The study laid out in grids all enclosures on the base map and segregated these grids into 4 zones. Every 5 min, the study recorded the proportion of time spent in these zones with the leopards' behaviour. Captive leopards most frequently used the "edge" zone. Almost all leopards used the edge zone for stereotypic pacing, the "back" zone for resting, and the "other" zone for activity. The study positively correlated the proportion of time spent in the "enriched" zone with activity levels exhibited by leopards housed in some enclosures and with resting in others. Thus, the study segregated structural objects in the enriched zone into activity-related features (e.g., logs) and rest-related features (e.g., trees and sleeping platforms). Compared with individuals housed in barren enclosures, leopards housed in structurally enriched on-exhibit enclosures exhibited higher levels of activity. Enclosure design was found to be an important factor influencing the welfare of leopards in captivity.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 111-124
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0502_02
Language English
Author Address Wildlife Institute of India, Bangalore, India.avantim@yahoo.com
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Tags
  1. Animal housing
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Asia
  6. Carnivores
  7. Cats
  8. Commonwealth of Nations
  9. Developing countries
  10. India
  11. Leopards
  12. Mammals
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. physical activity
  15. space
  16. vertebrates
  17. Zoo and captive wild animals
  18. Zoological gardens
  19. Zoos
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed