Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #224
CE Offered: BACB
Temporary Enrichment for Permanent Change: Using Research to Guide Zoo Exhibits
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
620 (Convention Center)
Area: AAB/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: James C. Ha (University of Washington)
Discussant: James C. Ha (University of Washington)
CE Instructor: Eduardo J. Fernandez, Ph.D.

Ursids (bears) and felids (cats) are popular animals found at zoos. Both also face a number of challenges. Restrictions in the ability to search for food are correlated with inactivity and/or stereotypies. As a result, zoos spend a considerable amount of time providing enrichment and designing exhibits. The following symposium covers three projects that examined the activity of 3 species of animals located at the Woodland Park Zoo. Initially all three projects examined the activity and type of enclosure substrates used by two sun and sloth bears, and two Sumatran tigers located in three separate exhibits. The next phase involved using reversal designs to test temporary enrichment devices that could be incorporated into their future permanent structures. Both projects will be discussed in terms of how we can use these results to assess and improve their exhibits. In addition, we will discuss how the bear/tiger results are being used to guide the creation of their new exhibits. Given that exhibits are typically designed based on knowledge of natural histories of a species and personal anecdote, all three studies will be discussed with this new concept of using data to help guide the design process.


A Behavorial and Spatial Comparison of Four Gray Wolves (Canis Lupus)

ELLEN RAE YOAKUM (University of Washington), Eduardo J. Fernandez (University of Washington), James C. Ha (University of Washington), Renee Ha (University of Washington)

One of way of measuring welfare in a captive environment is to compare the activity budget of the captive individuals to activity budgets of their wild counterparts. In this study, we sought to collect data on the behaviors and exhibit use of the four gray wolves at Woodland Park Zoofor two periods, April-May 2011, and April-May 2012. We looked to see how the activity budget of the captive pack changed after a year’s break in data collection, and whether it moved toward, or farther from, a reported wild budget. Percent of time in an area was to be used as another indicator of exhibit welfare. Instantaneous scan sampling was done every 30 seconds for one-hour periods. At each interval, the wolves’ behavior and location was recorded. The differences between the activity budgets for the wild, 2011 and 2012 were all significant. Changes in area usage between 2011 and 2012 were also significant. Inactivity had the biggest difference, with it increasing from 2011 and 2012. In light of this finding, more research should be done with enrichment to see if the pack’s activity budget can be moved closer to the wild counterpart.


Northern Treeshrew (Tupaia Belanger I) Activity and Exhibit and Use at the Woodland Park Zoo

NATHAN ASHWIN MA (University of Washington), Eduardo J. Fernandez (University of Washington), James C. Ha (University of Washington), Renee Ha (University of Washington)

The Northern Treeshrew (Tuapaia belangeri) is found abundantly in many forest ranges in South-east Asia. Consequently, as the assessment of Northern Treeshrew and 13 of the other 17 Tupaia species in captivity isn’t dire, the information regarding potential behavioral problems arising from captivity hasn’t been studied (Han, Duckwort, & Molur, 2008). Until the 1980s, treeshrews were recognized as primates (Sargis 2004, pg. 56). Evidence suggests that primates can be traced back to ancestors resembling treeshrews (Gebo 2004). The issue of primate-like animals being kept in captivity is the potential development of stereotypic activities behaviors (Blaney & Wells, 2004; Bourgeois & Brent, 2005). A stereotypy is defined by Mason et al. (2007) as a repetitive action without an obvious function. In many primate species, stereotypies induced by captivity are well documented, especially those affected by the visibility of the viewer (Blaney & Wells, 2004; Bourgeois & Brent, 2005; Choo et al., 2011). Fuchs and Schumacher found that exposing Northern Treeshrews to increased stress led to decreased melatonin secretion (1989), but the behavioral responses to altered enzyme activity were not examined. As potentially destructive stereotypies have been observed in the closely related order of primates, but no diagnostic studies have been conducted to identify stereotypies in treeshrews, I collected data on the Northern Treeshrews of the Woodland Park Zoo in order to address this informational void. By examining the activity patterns and exhibit usage of the treeshrews, I hoped to identify any problematic behaviors and activity patterns


Golden Lion Tamarins (Leotopithecus Rosalia) and Foraging Enrichment

ASHLEY REDSHAW (University of Washington), Eduardo J. Fernandez (University of Washington), James C. Ha (University of Washington)

This study tested the effects of a novel foraging tray enrichment device on a group of two zoo-housed Golden Lion Tamarins. The group received the foraging tray device in three conditions: as an empty object, as a raisin feeder and as a mealworm feeder. We examined how filling the device with food rewards changed the Golden Lion Tamarins activity levels, particularly foraging activities, as well as compared the different behavioral changes associated with the different types of food rewards. We also examined if habituation occurred when the animals grew accustomed to the novel device and if changing the food reward would reverse habituation effects. Several important results came from the data. Filling the device with food created significant behavioral changes from baseline data for the first half-hour, decreasing time spent inactive. The two food items, however, showed different trends for enriching behavioral changes. This study supports the idea found in previous studies that zoo-housed animals should be given enrichment to evoke naturalistic behaviors, but we suggest that more thought should be given to which specific food reward is placed in an enrichment device.





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