Record Details

Dutra, LuĂ­sa Mascarenhas Ladeia;Young, Robert John
Can enrichment make Brazilian tapir spend more time on view to the public?
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Journal Article
Tapirus terrestris;animal welfare;crepuscular animals;environmental enrichment
One common visitor complaint in zoos is that the nonhuman animals are not visible. This problem needs to be resolved without compromising the animals' welfare; environmental enrichment could solve the problem. This study investigated whether enrichment would increase public exposure time of lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in the Belo Horizonte Zoo in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Observations were made before (62 hr) and during (62 hr) the introduction of enrichment using focal animal sampling with instantaneous recording of behavior. The 5 enrichment items were a bamboo fence covered in vines, logs, a sandbox, dry leaves, and bamboo bushes. Before the enrichments were applied, the tapir was not visible to the public for more than 85% of the time. In addition, during the analysis of the enrichment treatment, other variables were considered--such as weekday, time of day, and weather conditions--which could influence the animals' interaction with the enrichments. The enrichments increased and decreased the expression of some behaviors; however, public viewing time of the animals did not increase. Thus, the enrichment applied was not strong enough to overcome the animals' crepuscular behavior.