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Discussion

While it was found that the amount of pacing performed by the two bears was not significantly different, a significant difference was found when excluding the days of separation. The days of separation exposed both bears to a new situation, increasing the amount of pacing performed by the male bear, and decreasing the amount of pacing performed by the female bear, resulting in more similar weighted averages. While outside variables could have had an additional impact on their behaviors, zookeeper presence and guest attendance were similar on days of separation to non-separation days. The weather was typically more sunny and clear on days of separation than average. Due to the male bear's fear of thunder, clear weather was expected to have decreased his pacing activity, however, the opposite was observed on days of separation. As such, separation of the bears was likely the largest factor affecting the bears' behaviors on those days. The male bear was shown to pace less than the female bear, particularly when excluding days of separation. Importantly, both bears spent most of their day pacing, showing a high degree of stereotypic behavior.

The bears paced less when the zookeepers were present. The increase in foraging and decrease in pacing could be a result of the time at which the bears were observed. Zookeepers were present directly after the bears had been let out into the exhibit area for the day, when food had just been distributed throughout the exhibit, which could explain why an increase in foraging was observed in the morning when the zookeepers were present. Occasionally, treats were offered by zookeepers in the middle of the day. Treats were either thrown into the enclosure or placed by hand into the exhibit. After the new food was offered, both bears would forage and the zookeeper would be marked as present. Both bears stopped pacing in order to forage for the treats, leading to the noted increase in foraging when zookeepers were present. An increase in resting/sleeping seen in the male bear when the zookeepers were present was likely due to the time of day. Cleaning of the back shed area occurred several times throughout the study, anywhere from 12:00 to 14:00. The zookeeper would be marked as present while cleaning, and 12:00 to 14:00 corresponds to the time the bears were typically napping. It is possible that the male bear did rest more when the zookeepers were present, but the timing should be considered. Overall, zookeeper presence seemed to improve the welfare of the bears, either directly or indirectly, by breaking up the long periods of uninterrupted pacing.

Pacing in front of guests was performed almost exclusively by the male bear. Both bears were raised by people, so it was expected both would show an interest in guests. The male bear spent nearly half his time pacing in front of guests, while the female bear spent only six percent of her time pacing in front of guests. The male bear was observed chasing the female from the fence closest to the guests, contributing to the difference. In addition, a larger number of guests did not increase the female bear's amount of pacing performed in front of guests, but the number of guests had a small impact on the male bear's amount of pacing in front of guests. Overall, the amount of pacing did not increase or decrease as the number of guests increased, indicating that the guests are not the direct cause of the observed pacing.

The male bear and female bear showed that the male bear paced less and rested more than the female bear. Comfort levels within the enclosure area certainly differ between the male and female bear, with the male bear showing a greater level of comfort, as demonstrated by the lower amount of pacing performed and higher amount of resting/sleeping.

Conclusion>>