Date

1-4-2016 12:00 AM

Major

Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology, Animal Ecology

Department

Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology

College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Project Advisor

Jill Pruetz

Project Advisor's Department

Anthropology

Description

Zoos all around the world have recently started to implement enrichment into their exhibits. Enrichment has been found to decrease stereotypic behaviors and alleviate stress in captive animals. The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa is one zoo that has implemented enrichment into several of their exhibits, including the Lar gibbon, also known as the white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar). As Hylobates lar is an endangered species, it is important to find enrichment activities that mentally and physically stimulate them to maintain their health. Previous research has found that primates prefer pliable items to non-pliable ones. We hypothesized that both the male and female gibbon would prefer the phone books, a pliable item, to a non-pliable item, a hanging barrel. Since animals have an instinct for food, we also hypothesized that both the male and female would prefer the food item, cereal, to a non-food item, a mop head. I conducted my study using a focal animal sampling approach, observing each sex for 15-minute intervals. I recorded the duration of interaction with each enrichment activity. The results showed that both the male and female preferred the food item to the non-food item and the pliable item to the non-pliable item.

File Format

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

"Comparing the behavioral effects of selected enrichment techniques among Hylobates lar at the Blank Park Zoo"

Zoos all around the world have recently started to implement enrichment into their exhibits. Enrichment has been found to decrease stereotypic behaviors and alleviate stress in captive animals. The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa is one zoo that has implemented enrichment into several of their exhibits, including the Lar gibbon, also known as the white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar). As Hylobates lar is an endangered species, it is important to find enrichment activities that mentally and physically stimulate them to maintain their health. Previous research has found that primates prefer pliable items to non-pliable ones. We hypothesized that both the male and female gibbon would prefer the phone books, a pliable item, to a non-pliable item, a hanging barrel. Since animals have an instinct for food, we also hypothesized that both the male and female would prefer the food item, cereal, to a non-food item, a mop head. I conducted my study using a focal animal sampling approach, observing each sex for 15-minute intervals. I recorded the duration of interaction with each enrichment activity. The results showed that both the male and female preferred the food item to the non-food item and the pliable item to the non-pliable item.