Abnormal behavior and the self-regulation of motivational state

Although most abnormal behaviors, including all stereotypies, indicate poor welfare, some that occur in rare situations are functional and do not indicate a negative situation. There is a wide range of abnormal behaviors that occur in conditions where the animal’s needs are not met, and these can be valuable welfare indicators, but these should never […]

Do Social Factors Related to Allostatic Load Affect Stereotypy Susceptibility? Management Implications for Captive Social Animals

Stereotypies are frequently associated with sub-optimal captive environments and are used as welfare indicators. However, susceptibility to stereotypy can vary across individuals of the same group. As such, identifying which individuals are more susceptible to this behaviour may be helpful in managing this issue. We have investigated which sex-age class of semi-captive capuchin monkeys (Sapajus […]

Issues of choice and control in the behaviour of a pair of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

Stereotyped behaviour occurs in a wide variety of captive animals including ursids. The provision of animal control over aspects of their environment by providing choices is a critical element for improving welfare. The behaviour of two sibling polar bears at a metropolitan zoo was examined to investigate the effect of providing access to their indoor, […]

Stereotypy and perseverative responding in caged bears: further data and analyses

Stereotypies are common in captive animals; yet, their underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. One hypothesis [Garner, J.P., 1999. The aetiology of stereotypy in caged animals. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Oxford, UK] proposes them to be symptoms of altered behavioural organisation (behavioural disinhibition) mediated by striatal dysfunction, and thus, fundamentally analogous to the repetitive behaviours associated […]

Captivity effects on wide-ranging carnivores

Some species — ring-tailed lemurs and snow leopards, for example — apparently thrive in captivity, whereas others, such as Asian elephants and polar bears, are prone to problems that include poor health, repetitive stereotypic behaviour and breeding difficulties. Here we investigate this previously unexplained variation in captive animals’ welfare by focusing on caged carnivores, and […]

Nutritional and behavioral effects of gorge and fast feeding in captive lions

Nonhuman animals in captivity manifest behaviors and physiological conditions that are not common in the wild. Lions in captivity face problems of obesity, inactivity, and stereotypy. To mediate common problems of captive lions, this study implemented a gorge and fast feeding schedule that better models naturalistic patterns: African lions (Panthera leo) gradually adapted from a […]

A study of cortisol and beta-endorphin levels in stereotypic and normal Thoroughbreds

In recent studies of equine stereotypic behaviour, data on levels of cortisol and beta-endorphin (BE) have been limited and sometimes contradictory. The current research aimed to investigate, in a large number of horses, the relationships between these compounds and equine stereotypic behaviour. Plasma and salivary cortisol levels were measured in stereotypic (n=46) and normal horses […]

The use of positive reinforcement training to reduce stereotypic behavior in rhesus macaques

Stereotypic behavior is a pervasive problem for captive monkeys and other animals. Once this behavior pattern has started, it can be difficult to alleviate. We tested whether or not using positive reinforcement training (PRT) can reduce this undesired behavior. Subjects for this study were 11 adult, female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) with a history of […]

Stereotypies and Other Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors: Potential Impact on Validity, Reliability, and Replicability of Scientific Outcomes

Normal behavior plays a key role in facilitating homeostasis, especially by allowing the animal to control and modify its environment. Captive environments may interfere with these behavioral responses, and the resulting stress may alter many physiological parameters. Abnormal behaviors indicate that an animal is unable to adjust behaviorally to the captive environment and, hence, may […]

A preliminary survey of behavioural stereotypes in captive primates