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Abstract

Stereotypic pacing is a common occurrence in captive carnivorans. Although stereotypic pacing is typically associated with poor welfare, the cause of pacing is not fully understood. In this study, two captive Florida black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus) were observed twice a week for ten weeks, along with zookeeper presence as well as the location and number of guests. Zookeeper presence was associated with a decrease in time spent pacing (P<0.05). The male bear in the study spent a larger percent of time pacing in front of guests (average: 43.2% ± 1.0% SD) compared to the female (average: 6.2% ± 1.4% SD), P<0.05). Male dominance is the most likely explanation for the variance seen in pacing in front of guests. Observing how guests and zookeepers impact stereotypic pacing can help provide an understanding of the cause of stereotypic pacing and improve the welfare of captive animals.

KEYWORDS: pacing, captivity, animal behavior, American black bear, Ursus americanus

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