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Keywords:

  • foraging;
  • frustration;
  • pacing;
  • random feeding;
  • predictability

Abstract

The stereotyped pacing shown by the two Amur tigers in the Zurich Zoo was hypothesized as being caused by permanently frustrated appetitive foraging behavior. Several electrically controlled feeding boxes were installed and access to each box was possible only twice a day for 15 min at semi-random times. The boxes had to be opened actively by the tigers. Two trials were carried out: one with solitary confinement, and one with paired confinement. During box feeding, the female's stereotyped pacing was significantly reduced from 16% (solitary confinement, conventional feeding) and 7% (paired confinement, conventional feeding) to 1% (solitary confinement) and less than 0.01% (paired confinement) of the daily observed time. The female's sleeping increased significantly in both solitary and paired confinement. The male only showed a significant reduction in stereotyped pacing behavior when kept with the female (conventional feeding: 10%; box feeding: <0.01% of the daily observed time). On days with a box-feeding regime in paired confinement, the male spent 25% (83 min) of the observed time with active behavior at the feeding boxes. The results support the hypothesis that permanently frustrated appetitive foraging behavior causes stereotyped pacing in adult tigers. Zoo Biol 21:573–584, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.