CZAAWE Resource Article

Behavioral responses of three lemur species to different food enrichment devices
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Environmental enrichment is a tool used to promote the welfare and well‐being of captive animals by encouraging the display of species‐specific behaviors and reducing the stress or boredom induced by captive environments. Lemurs are highly endangered, yet few studies have analyzed the behavioral impacts of enrichment on captive populations. We studied the impacts of two novel enrichment devices on three lemur species (ring‐tailed lemurs [Lemur catta], red‐ruffed lemurs [Varecia rubra], and Coquerel's sifaka [Propithecus coquereli]) to determine both the overall and species‐specific impacts of enrichment on lemur behavior. We recorded lemur behavior using the continuous sampling method to obtain behavior duration and analyzed our results using ANOVA Repeated Measures. Results showed enrichment effectiveness differed for each species and that different enrichment devices had varying impacts on lemur behavior across all species. We attributed the differences in species‐specific responses to the unique locomotor patterns and methods of diet acquisition of each species, and the variances in behavioral responses across all species to the characteristics of each device. Our study highlights the importance of species‐specific enrichment and encourages further research in this field in order to maximize the positive effects of enrichment, which in turn has the potential to affect the overall well‐being of captive populations.