Seasonal and Daily Activity of Two Zoo-Housed Grizzly Bears (Ursus Arctos Horribilis)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Eduardo J Fernandez, Ellen Yoakum, Nathan Andrews
Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
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Captive grizzly bears, like their wild counterparts, engage in considerable variability in their seasonal and daily activity. We documented the year-long activity of two grizzly bears located at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. We found that behaviors emerged in relation to month-to-month, seasonal, and time of day (hour-to-hour) observations, and events that occurred on exhibit, such as daily feedings. Seventeen behaviors split into seven classes of behavior were observed during their on-exhibit time over a 13-month period. Inactivity was the most frequent class of responses recorded, with most inactive behaviors occurring during the winter months. Both stereotypic and non-stereotypic activity emerged during the spring and summer months, with stereotypic activity occurring most frequently in the morning and transitioning to non-stereotypic activity in the latter part of the day. Results are discussed with respect to how captive grizzly bear behaviors relate to their natural seasonal and daily activity, as well as how events, such as feeding times and enrichment deliveries, can be used to optimize overall captive bear welfare.


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