Given the drawbacks of hand-rearing nonhuman animals in captivity, the practice is generally avoided, but it is sometimes necessary. A few scientific publications are available to guide managers toward best practices in hand-rearing, but the majority of articles focus on hand-rearing captive primates. Less is known about hand-rearing carnivores, but early socialization appears to be critical for adult social behavior. This article documents the successful hand-rearing and reintroduction of a single female Sumatran tiger cub at Zoo Atlanta. Reintroduction included a systematic procedure that used scent trials and introduction sessions through a barrier to gauge interest and determine whether or not aggression was a problem. Based on signs of interest, reduced stress-related behaviors, and a lack of aggression, animal managers decided to proceed with reintroduction. During the introductions, the animals were not aggressive and did occasionally interact, although typical mother-infant interactions were rare. The cub has since bred naturally and successfully delivered and reared two litters of cubs. These data suggest limited exposure to an adult tiger may be adequate socialization for normal reproduction even if it is provided relatively late in the cub's development.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Author Address||Center for Conservation and Behavior, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.email@example.com|
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