Effects of browsing enrichment associated with the temperature–humidity index and landscaping trees in giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Kota Okabe, Hiroki Fukuizumi, Ayumi Kawamura, Chihiro Kase, Katsuji Uetake
Journal of Thermal Biology
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Enclosure environments for captive giraffes can be improved by promoting species-specific behaviors and extending foraging behavior. To date, however, the effects of climatic (temperature–humidity index, THI) and environmental factors (landscaping trees) on the enrichment of captive settings have not been studied. Therefore, the present study explored the effects of browsing enrichment on the licking behavior of captive giraffes. From May 2019 to February 2020, three giraffes in the Kyoto City Zoo, Japan, were observed for 270 h over two consecutive seasons (pre- and post-deciduous). Overall, tree foraging enrichment and licking behavior were weakly and negatively correlated. In the pre-deciduous period, THI was significantly and negatively correlated with giraffe activity, and some individuals exhibited significantly reduced foraging behavior. Therefore, browsing enrichment under extreme heat may not improve giraffe rearing environments. Moreover, in the post-deciduous period, with decreased availability of leaves on landscaping trees, the foraging behavior of giraffes was significantly decreased, with a corresponding significant increase in licking behavior. Therefore, landscaping trees affect the foraging behavior of captive giraffes.


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