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Environmental Enrichments Promote Agility in Captivity for Asiatic Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus laniger)

Environmental Enrichments Promote Agility in Captivity for Asiatic Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus laniger)

Noor-ul-Ain1, Zulfiqar Ali1*, Saba Naz1, Kiran Saleem1,2, Syeda Rida Hasan1, Sana Arif1, Rida Ahmad1,3, Nida Naeem1, Zarmina Zainab1 and Aliza Batool1,3

1Environmental Health and Wildlife Laboratory, Institute of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Lahore-54590, Pakistan
2Lahore Zoo, Lahore, Pakistan
3Department of Zoology, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan
 
*      Corresponding author: zali.zool@pu.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus laniger) are natural inhabitants of deciduous forests. They live solitary in their natural habitat. Their captive behaviour was studied by taking two Asiatic black bear pairs as study subjects in Lahore Zoo, Pakistan. The study was based on the provision of environmental enrichments to the bear pairs. Each pair’s pre-enrichment activity budget data was collected by scan sampling method of 70 h, documenting the cage area and behavioural ethogram. The observed behaviours were resting, eating, drinking, locomotion, aggression, urination, defecation, fighting, pacing, playing, foaming, cage exploration, and being out of view. Two different enrichments were installed for two pairs. The first pair was provided with a feeding enrichment consisting of a large wood log applied with small wooden branches on it, upon which food-filled plastic tires were hung. The second enrichment was installed in the second bear pair’s cage, consisting of two wooden platforms attached to the ground with iron rods. A 20-h post-enrichment activity budget of both bear pairs was recorded and compared with their pre-enrichment activity budget. The results showed that there was a significant increase (p=0.003) in cage exploration by the installation of feeding enrichment while a significant increase was observed in cage exploration (p=0.04), drinking (p=0.04), and resting (p=0.001) behaviours by the installation of wooden platforms. All the other activities had no significant impact of both enrichments. This study revealed the significance of environmental enrichments on the activity budget of black bears in captivity and can be proved as footprints for future studies.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

June

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 3, pp. 1001-1500

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