Year: 2019 | Month: February | Volume 9 | Issue 1
Modern Naturalistic Enclosures: Comparatively an Enhanced Management Practice of Captive Felids in the Zoological Park
Due to the expansion of human population, threat for existence of all wild animals is gradually increasing. They are driven to exist in smaller areas and in the worst case scenario extinction. Zoos are being encouraged to improve the animal’s physical and social surroundings. In this study, the modern naturalistic enrichment introduced to large felids tiger, lion and leopard at Gandhi Zoological Park, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, was studied. The study has envisaged evaluating if the modern naturalistic enclosures could increase activity levels and how the felids opted to these enclosure. The enclosures were divided into menageries and natural enrichment, which had a varying degree of opportunities for the animals to climb, hide and rest above ground level. The environmental enrichment effects on the proportion of time spent engaging in active behaviors and stereotypic pacing in the large felids were compared and recorded using instantaneous scan sampling. The results of this study revealed clearly that large felids kept in more natural and complex enclosures performed less stereotypic pacing (unnatural behavior), and more exploratory (natural) behaviour than those housed in less natural enclosures reducing the stress level in captive tigers will enhance the animals’ overall physical and psychological well being, which will in turn increase the success of captive breeding programs. Furthermore, these results suggest that captive tigers should be housed in large enclosures containing natural substrate and vegetation, water pools, ample shade, a variety of resting locations and enrichment items.
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