The Effect of Feeding Enrichment on the Moloch Gibbon (Hylobates Moloch)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Deborah Wells, Rosie Irwin
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
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This study explored the effect of 3 feeding devices (food-filled baskets, polyvinyl chloride tubes, frozen ice pops) on the behavior of 4 zoo-housed moloch gibbons. The project studied the gibbons for 5 days during a control condition (no feeding enrichment) and 5 days per condition of feeding enrichment, when 3 of the same type of feeding device were suspended within the animals’ exhibit. The gibbons interacted with the feeders an average of 172.25 times. The animals showed no significant difference in the total number of times that they interacted with the 3 different feeding devices but were slower to approach the food-filled tubes than the baskets or ice pops. There was no sign of habituation to any of the feeding devices over their 5 days of presentation. Feeding enrichment significantly influenced certain components of the gibbons’ behavior. The animals spent more of the observation time outside and showed more instances of foraging and fewer occurrences of moving during the enrichment conditions than the control. The study concluded that feeding devices may offer a viable form of environmental enrichment for captive moloch gibbons.


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