CZAAWE Resource Article

Issues of choice and control in the behaviour of a pair of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Behavioural Processes
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, off-exhibit holding space. Both bears demonstrated behavioural changes when given the choice to access their indoor dens including decreased stereotyped behaviours and increased social play. These results, although based on just two bears, provide additional support for the assertion that choice and control are closely tied to issues of well-being for captive animals.