Påverkas stereotypt vandrande hos amurleopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) vid ökad förutsägbarhet i samband med utfodring?
Abstract: Stereotypic pacing is frequently observed in captive carnivores, however the underlying causes of this behaviour remain somewhat unclear. One of these possible causes are unpredictable feeding signals, which may give rise to frustration and subsequent pacing. Animal keepers at Nordens Ark had noticed that their Amur leopards had shown stereotypic pacing in connection to the passing of ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) used by animal keepers primarly when feeding the animals in the park. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the stereotypic pacing of the two Amur leopards at Nordens Ark were affected by the introduction of a signal associated with feeding. The leopards were trained by classical conditioning to associate the sound of a siren with the delivery of food by an animal keeper. Data were collected during two weeks by focal sampling with continuous recording, four observation sessions were conducted per day. During two of the sessions, the signal from the siren was activated and an animal keeper arrived at the Amur leopard enclosures and fed the leopards. In the other two sessions, no signal from the siren sounded, instead there were animal keepers with ATVs passing by or stopping near the enclosures. The combined results with data from both individuals and both weeks included, showed that the Amur leopards paced more during the sessions when no signal from the siren was activated than during sessions when it sounded. The difference between the two events was however small. Furthermore, the results showed that there was a considerable difference between the male and the female in terms of amount of time they devoted to stereotypic pacing. The female paced during a greater proportion of time than the male. The female was also found to pace more after a keeper had passed by with an ATV than after the signal from the siren had been given, which contrasted with the result from the male who paced more after the siren had sounded. When comparing the results of the first and the second week of the study, the Amur leopards were found to pace to a higher extent during the second week than during the first week. In summary, the total results of the study indicate that the leopards did not learn that the absence of the signal meant that no keeper would come and feed them. Alternatively, there could be other factors eliciting the stereotypic pacing in the Amur leopards, meaning that the attempt to reduce the pacing by introducing a reliable signal associated with feeding may not have been sufficient to accomplish a marked decrease in the stereotypic pacing performed. Due to the limited number of individuals and short duration of the study, it is difficult to draw any certain conclusions.
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