Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Quirke, T,O'Riordan, RM
Zoo Biology
Evaluation and Interpretation of the Effects of Environmental Enrichment Utilizing Varying Degrees of Sampling Effort
Optional Fields
behavior enrichment evaluation sampling effort BEHAVIOR ZOO CATS
Documenting the effects of novel forms of enrichment is becoming increasingly important within the field of environmental enrichment. Appropriate documentation and evaluation must accompany any enrichment research project in order for accurate results to be obtained. The objective of the present study was to provide an example of how the level of effort in documenting the effect of enrichment is linked to how it is evaluated. This study was carried out on eight cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland. Temporal feeding variation was the enrichment type used during this study. Behavior data were collected in five different ways in order to simulate varying degrees of effort. Randomization tests were utilized to analyze behavior data. Significant behavioral differences were observed in the first four sampling methods with patterns of behavior remaining similar in all five methods. However, only the most time intensive method concurred with findings previously published utilizing this form of enrichment. No significant differences in behavior were detected when the least time intensive method was used. Between 1 and 2 hr of data collection daily is necessary to evaluate temporal feeding variation accurately. However, 30-45 min of data collection also gave an insight into the effectiveness of the enrichment. Methods of evaluation can influence the interpretations of the strength of the enriching effect of the treatment. Appropriate evaluation and accurate reporting of enrichment is crucial for the future development of the environmental enrichment field. Zoo Biol 32:262-268, 2013. (c) 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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