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Lannergren, Sara, 2013. Play behaviour in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and the feasibility of improving the welfare of captive felids through play. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

Felids are displayed in zoos and parks all over the world but are often kept in unsuitable enclosures. Stereotypic behaviours are therefore commonly observed in large captive cats caused by a lack of a stimulating environment. To prevent this, keepers use different enrichments to encourage animals to express natural behaviours such as running, investigating and playing. Play behaviour has recently attained more attention and has been suggested to be an indicator of good welfare as well as possibly being the cause of it. This study aimed to investigate if play can be stimulated by presenting environmental enrichments, or “toys”. In this study two litters of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) cubs of various ages that were presented with a Boomer ball. Behavioural data were collected during two weeks. The first week was used as a baseline and during the second week a Boomer ball were presented .The result show a small increase in object play, even though the cubs did not use the Boomer ball during the time of observation. The most commonly observed type of play was contact social play, but the litters spent the majority of the time resting. This might have been affected by the chosen time of day for the observations. The results of this study did not indicate the possibility of stimulating play in cheetah cubs, but it does not rule out the possibility of a better result during different circumstances. If play could be increased by presenting environmental enrichments and if the theory of play was confirmed to cause positive emotions, this could result in a practically manageable way to improve the welfare of captive animals. Future research might hand us the tools to measure emotions in animals and the effect of how animals feel, creating a major step forward in animal keeping.

Main title:Play behaviour in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and the feasibility of improving the welfare of captive felids through play
Authors:Lannergren, Sara
Supervisor:Anderson, Claes
Examiner:Andersson, Maria
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:477
Year of Publication:2013
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:play behaviour, stimulate, captivity, feline, cheetah, welfare, emotion, feelings
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2626
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2626
Subjects:Animal ecology
Veterinary science and hygiene - General aspects
Language:English
Deposited On:19 Aug 2013 08:24
Metadata Last Modified:19 Aug 2013 08:24

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