Maximum price paid in captive bush dogs (Speothos venaticus)
One way to investigate what animals in captivity might need is to conduct preference and motivational tests. These types of tests can help facilitate the animals to express different priorities. The motivation can be assessed by having the animals “pay an entry cost” (e.g. push a weighted door) that increases with time to get access to a resource. The highest price that the animals are willing to pay for this resource is called “the maximum price paid”. This study intends to test the maximum price paid to access for food in a group of bush dogs kept at Kolmården Wildlife Park. A simple choice test consisting of four different food items (meat, fish, vegetables and fruit) was first conducted to establish which resource the bush dogs preferred. The results showed that meat and fish were the preferred food items. Secondly, a push-door test was conducted to measure the maximum price paid for the preferred food item. At the most, one individual was willing to lift 11 kg (twice its weight) to get access to meat.
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