A therapeutic environmental enrichment programme for managing pathological behaviour in the fossa (<i>Cryptoprocta ferox</i>)

Authors

  • Raffaele Grisa Research and Conservation Department, Parco Natura Viva - Garda Zoological Park; Località Figara 40, 37012 Bussolengo (VR), Italy.
  • Marina Bertelé
  • Stefano Vaglio
  • Catherina Spiezio

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v1i1.15

Abstract

This study is based on an adult male fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) that arrived at Garda Zoological Park (Italy) exhibiting stereotyped and self-injuring behaviours and follows its subsequent rehabilitation through a long-term environmental enrichment programme. Data were collected over a period of six months. Continuous focal animal sampling was used to collect behavioural data during 90-minute sessions; 24 sessions took place over the first two months and two sessions took place six months after his arrival. Data were analysed using non-parametric tests.  At the beginning of the study period, the predatory behaviour of the fossa was not species-specific since he was not able to find food items when they were hidden in the enclosure.  It usually interacted with items for just a few minutes. Rubbing different scents on enclosure furniture promoted play only for a few minutes. After two months of behavioural observations, its behaviour only improved slightly and stereotyped and self-injuring behaviours were maintained. However, we continued the intense enrichment programme for a longer period. Six months after its arrival rare undesirable behaviours or noticeable side effects were observed whilst species-specific behaviours were recorded. Results showed that the environmental enrichment curtailed the aberrant behaviours. In conclusion, this case study provides evidence supporting the hypothesis that a suitable enrichment programme could have a therapeutic effect on pathological behaviour in captive animals.

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Published

2013-07-24

How to Cite

Grisa, R., Bertelé, M., Vaglio, S., & Spiezio, C. (2013). A therapeutic environmental enrichment programme for managing pathological behaviour in the fossa (&lt;i&gt;Cryptoprocta ferox&lt;/i&gt;). Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 1(1), 41–43. https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v1i1.15

Issue

Section

Evidence Based Practice