CZAAWE Resource Article

Environmental and social influences on enclosure use and activity patterns of captive sloth bears (Ursus ursinus)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430110607.abs Four adult sloth bears (Ursus ursinus) at the Los Angeles Zoo were studied for 13 months to quantify the influence of environmental and social variables on enclosure use and activity. Observations were conducted in 1-hr samples, using 1-min scans, for a total of 150 hr distributed across two seasons and three time periods. Data were then subjected to chi-square and log-linear analyses. These showed that the bears' enclosure use and activity patterns were conditional on variations in the physical and social environments. Individual rearing history also influenced activity, as hand-reared bears showed significantly higher frequencies of self-directed and stereotyped behaviors than did mother-reared animals. Changes in group composition significantly affected the behavior patterns of the two females, which were most social when exhibited with a familiar male. Social behavior and nonsocial activity also decreased in the presence of an unfamiliar male. Further evaluations of exhibit design and management practices are encouraged to identify variables that increase the reproductive success, physical well-being, and educational value of captive sloth bears. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.