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Factors influencing stereotypic behaviours of animals rescued from Asian animal markets: a slow loris case study

By R. S. Moore, F. Cabana, K. A. I. Nekaris

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Illegal wildlife trade has devastating effects on wild populations in Southeast Asia, made evident from the rising numbers of threatened species found in rescue centres. The prevalence of slow lorises ( Nycticebus spp.) in trade allows for the first time, a study of the response of wild-caught strepsirrhines to a captive environment following a period of non-existent welfare. Many animals confiscated from trade arrive at rescue centres with mental and physical defects and regularly perform stereotypic behaviours. Our study assessed the prevalence of stereotypic behaviour in three species of Indonesian slow lorises ( n=90) at a Ciapus Primate Centre in Java, Indonesia. We surveyed all slow lorises present, three times a night, every night, over a four-week period and recorded every time a slow loris exhibited stereotypies. We described the stereotypic behaviours witnessed and attempted to predict the occurrence of this behaviour. 33% of animals observed exhibited at least one of three forms of stereotypy - pacing, rocking head, circling. We examined extrinsic and intrinsic factors including sex, species, length of time in captivity, cage size and group composition to highlight stereotypic predictors. A logistic regression analysis revealed that 21.9% of variability in the presence of stereotypies could be explained by sex composition and number of conspecifics sharing an enclosure. Through experimenting with different size and sex composition of groups and distance to neighbouring groups, occurrence of stereotypies may be reduced. Numerous other factors not tested for, including a genetic predisposition to coping with life in captivity, could be responsible for these behaviours. As stereotypies in zoo-living lorises are rare, the brutal conditions of the trade may also play a major role in their prevalence in this study.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 166
Pages 131-136
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.02.014
Language English
Author Address Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, OX3 0BP,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. APEC countries
  4. ASEAN Countries
  5. Asia
  6. Case Report
  7. Composition
  8. Defects
  9. Developing countries
  10. Effect
  11. Endangered species
  12. Head
  13. Incidence
  14. Indonesia
  15. Mammals
  16. Markets
  17. Mathematics and statistics
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. predictions
  20. predisposition
  21. Primates
  22. Regression Analysis
  23. vertebrates
  24. wildlife
  1. peer-reviewed