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Frustrated appetitive foraging behavior, stereotypic pacing, and fecal glucocorticoid levels in snow leopards ( Uncia uncia ) in the Zurich Zoo

By N. Burgener, M. Gusset, H. Schmid

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Abstract

This study hypothesized that permanently frustrated, appetitive-foraging behavior caused the stereotypic pacing regularly observed in captive carnivores. Using 2 adult female snow leopards (U), solitarily housed in the Zurich Zoo, the study tested this hypothesis experimentally with a novel feeding method: electronically controlled, time-regulated feeding boxes. The expected result of employing this active foraging device as a successful coping strategy was reduced behavioral and physiological measures of stress, compared with a control-feeding regime without feeding boxes. The study assessed this through behavioral observations and by evaluating glucocorticoid levels noninvasively from feces. Results indicated that the 2 snow leopards did not perform successful coping behavior through exercising active foraging behavior or through displaying the stereotypic pacing. The data support a possible explanation: The box-feeding method did not provide the 2 snow leopards with the external stimuli to satisfy their appetitive behavioral needs. Moreover, numerous other factors not necessarily or exclusively related to appetitive behavior could have caused and influenced the stereotypic pacing.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 74-83
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888700701729254
Language English
Author Address Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.burgener@izw-berlin.de
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Tags
  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal roles
  5. Animals
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  8. Carnivores
  9. Cats
  10. Developed countries
  11. Deviant behavior
  12. Europe
  13. Feces
  14. Foraging
  15. Glucocorticoids
  16. Leopards
  17. Mammals
  18. OECD countries
  19. peer-reviewed
  20. stereotypes
  21. Stress
  22. Switzerland
  23. vertebrates
  24. Zoo and captive wild animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed