Habituation to environmental enrichment in captive sloth bears—effect on stereotypies

  • Published source details Anderson C., Arun A.S. & Jensen P. (2010) Habituation to environmental enrichment in captive sloth bears—effect on stereotypies. Zoo Biology, 29, 705-714.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Carnivores: Present food inside objects (e.g. Boomer balls)

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals
  1. Carnivores: Present food inside objects (e.g. Boomer balls)

    A before-and-after study in 2007 of sloth bears Melursus ursinus in a rescue centre in India found that providing honey-filled logs both intermittently or daily reduced the frequency of stereotypic behaviour and increased exploratory behaviour compared to no enrichment. The amount of time devoted to stereotypic behaviours was lower (intermittent: 22%; daily: 22%) and exploratory behaviours were higher (intermittent: 21%; daily: 17.5%) than without honey filled logs (stereotypic: 32.5%: explorative: 14.1%). Fourteen bears were fed three times daily which included porridge and mixed scattered fruit. Behaviour was recorded using instantaneous scan sampling with two minute intervals. Baseline data were collected for ten days before treatment. Enrichment regime included logs which could hold up to 200 g of honey. Two conditions were studied: 1) logs were introduced for five days in a row; 2) logs were introduced on days one, three and five. Behaviour was monitored between 15:00 h and 17:30 h on all five days of a treatment period, behaviour was monitored for another 6-10 days.

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