Selecting and Testing Environmental Enrichment in Lemurs

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
E. J. Fernandez, W. Timberlake
Frontiers in Psychology
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Environmental enrichment has become a standard tool for improving the welfare of animals in zoos. Two critical steps in the manipulation of environmental enrichment are (1) selection of objects/procedures and (2) evaluation of their effects. In this study, we examined the selection and evaluation of feeding enrichment for four species of lemur. Experiment 1 used a paired-choice preference assessment to divide eight food items into high- and low-preferred categories. Experiment 2 separately assessed the effects of high- versus low-preferred items (placed in bamboo dispensers) on the behavior of two of the species in the preference assessment. Both high- and low-preferred items increased general activity and overall enclosure use, with high-preferred items having a greater effect than low-preferred items on most measures. The results suggest that preference assessments can serve as useful tools in selecting potential enrichment and that enrichment testing is important in evaluating the significance of these preferences.


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