Research Journal of Zoology

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A Short-Term Macro and Microevaluation of an Environmental Enrichment Program in a Captive Pride of Southwest African Lions (Panthera Leo Bleyenberghi): Age-Class Differences

This study evaluates a feeding, occupational and sensorial environmental-enrichment programme in a pride of eight [2.6 (♂.♀)] Southwest African lions (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) housed at Barcelona Zoo. The evaluation was short-term due to the data was collected at the time in which the enrichment programme was introduced. In both study phases (baseline and enrichment macroevaluation), a total of 78 sessions of 30- min (19.5 h per animal) of observation were recorded to study the daily activity and the use of space. Sampling was multifocal and data were collected using instantaneous 1 mininterval scans. The microevaluation of enrichment used an ad libitum recording and it studied the number of lions that interacted with enrichment devices in every 1-h 16 enrichment sessions. The aim was to determine whether there were differences for the two age classes: the adults (1.3) and the juveniles (1.3) in both phases. During the enrichment macroevaluation, both age classes showed an increased in ‘not visible’ and a decreased in ‘vigilance’. Moreover, the adult lions showed an increase in ‘inactivity’ and a decreased in ‘locomotion’; whereas the juvenile lions showed an increase in ‘exploration’ and a decreased in ‘keeper interaction’ and ‘solitary play’. In relation to the space use, both age classes used exhibit zones differently during the enrichment programme. In addition, in both study phases, the juvenile lions used the exhibit more homogenously than adults. The microevaluation determined that all juvenile lions - but not all adults - interacted with all the enrichment devices provided.

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