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Effect of Seasonal Variations on the Behavior of Captive Lions (Panthera leo) and Tigers (Panthera tigris)

Effect of Seasonal Variations on the Behavior of Captive Lions (Panthera leo) and Tigers (Panthera tigris)

Noor-ul-Ain1, Zulfiqar Ali1*, Rida Ahmad1,2 and Nida Naeem1

1Environmental Health and Wildlife Laboratory, Institute of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Lahore-54590, Pakistan
2Department of Zoology, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan
 
*      Corresponding author: zali.zool@pu.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Lions (Panthera leo) and tigers (Panthera tigris) are nocturnal animals. Opportunistically, they may hunt during the daytime in the wild. In captivity, they spend most of their time sleeping, resting, or pacing and face different conditions seasonally as compared to their natural habitat. It alters their activity and may reduce agility. By studying the impact of seasonal variation on captive behavior, the temperature and other seasonally dependent factors can be optimized in the zoo. This study was designed to investigate the effect of summer and winter seasons on adult and juvenile carnivores’ captive behavior. The study was conducted in Lahore Zoological Garden, Pakistan, documenting the cage area and behavioral ethogram. The subjects were two African lions, six African lionesses, four lion cubs, two Bengal tigers, and two Bengal tigresses which were observed for auditory, aggression, feeding, moving, resting, and excretory behaviors by scan sampling method. The winter data were collected in February and summer data were collected in June for ten days each month in three sessions (8:00-10:00 am, 12:00-2:00 pm, and 4:00-6:00 pm). A total of 60 h of data were collected for each season. The activity budget of animals for both seasons was compared and the alteration in any behavioral category was analyzed. The results showed that the significantly altered behavior in all animal groups was moving (p<0.05). Seasonal variation had a significant impact on the resting (p<0.05) of Bengal tigers, Bengal tigresses, and lion cubs. Auditory behavior (p<0.05) of Bengal tigers and lion cubs while aggressive behavior (p<0.05) of Bengal tigers significantly varied in the summer and winter seasons. All other behaviors were not significantly affected by the seasonal change in each of the carnivore groups. This study revealed the impact of seasonal variations on the behavior of captive carnivores and can be beneficial to optimize captive conditions.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

August

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 4, pp. 1501-2000

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