University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - Studying the Effects of Predatory Presence and Enrichment on Cryptoprocta ferox Behavior
US tab

Methods

For twelve weeks the female was observed for a total of 112.5 hours. The observations took place between 9:00-14:00 on Monday and Wednesday each week. The observer was placed at least 1.5 meters away from the enclosure. During that time the “primary” and “secondary” behavior was recorded every five minutes as well as the location of the female. “Primary” behaviors were determined by which behavior was displayed for much of the five-minute interval. The location levels were categorized based on a previous study including levels 1-4 (UCF Student Study, 2017). The types of behaviors that were observed were: resting/sleeping, pacing, head rolling, observing, interacting, foraging, scent marking, self-grooming, and wandering. Definitions of important terms are found in Table 1.

Table 1. List and definitions of behaviors

The changing of enrichment happens every day around 10:00 AM -12:00 PM, which is based on the keepers’ schedules. The enrichment was categorized by tactile, visual, olfactory, or keeper engagement and the categories varied each day. The amount of pacing was recorded before and after the enrichment was swapped out. An ANOVA was performed to discover if there was any significant difference between the amount of pacing before and after the swapping out of the enrichment. The incidence of head rolls was also recorded by time and location. The locations were categorized by which corner of the enclosure the head roll took place. The categories are as follows: Left Back Corner (LBC), Left Front Corner (LFC), Right Back Corner (RBC), Right Front Corner (RFC), and Den Entrance (DE). The head rolls were recorded for the day and are an extension of pacing (Dickie and Phil, 2005, Central Florida Zoo, personal communication). An ANOVA test was used to determine the significant difference in behavior before and after P. p. orientalis was introduced. August 27th and 29th were excluded from the head roll analysis due to the lack of recording head rolls until the second week of the study. October 1st and 3rd were excluded from both pacing and head roll analysis. (These observations took place during a different time interval than the other observations. The inclusion of these dates had no significant effect on the overall results.) 

Results >>