Managing repetitive locomotor behaviour and time spent off exhibit in a male black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) through exhibit and husbandry modifications
At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (Cleveland, OH, USA) a male black-footed cat was frequently observed to exhibit repetitive locomotor behaviour and spent a large portion of his day off exhibit. As part of a collaborative effort between animal care and research staff, a stepwise intervention strategy was developed to decrease the subject’s repetitive locomotion and increase his time spent on exhibit. This plan consisted of four phases: baseline, the implementation of a random feeding schedule, exhibit modification, and the implementation of a low-starch diet. The implementation of the low-starch diet resulted in a significant decrease in locomotor behaviour and beginning with the first manipulative phase a qualitative decrease in repetitive locomotor behaviour was observed. Following the implementation of these changes, the subject also significantly decreased his time spent off exhibit. This is the first systematic study addressing an animal welfare concern in a black-footed cat.
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