Formal behavioral evaluation of enrichment programs on a zookeeper's schedule: a case study with a polar bear (Ursus Maritimus) at the Bronx Zoo
Article first published online: 16 APR 2009
© 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Volume 29, Issue 4, pages 503–508, July/August 2010
How to Cite
Canino, W. and Powell, D. (2010), Formal behavioral evaluation of enrichment programs on a zookeeper's schedule: a case study with a polar bear (Ursus Maritimus) at the Bronx Zoo. Zoo Biol., 29: 503–508. doi: 10.1002/zoo.20247
- Issue published online: 4 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Received: 4 MAY 2008
- The Wildlife Conservation Society's Animal Enrichment Program
- polar bear;
- data collection;
We conducted a brief study of the effectiveness of environmental enrichment for a polar bear at the Bronx Zoo with two objectives in mind. First we wanted to determine if a novel method of collecting data that easily fits into a zookeeper's work routine would produce usable data and if so, we wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of some new items that had been purchased for enriching the polar bear in reducing his pacing behavior. Observations were recorded for 119 days over a period of 5 months from April 2007 through August 2007. Five new items and eight previously used items were rotated and presented to the polar bear in the morning and afternoon. We recorded the bear's behavior five times per day as we passed by his exhibit during our regular work routine. Predictably, we found that the newer enrichment items were more effective at increasing play and decreasing pacing, as well as other more subtle effects on his behavior that helped us to design a better enrichment routine. More importantly, we found that this method of “multi-point scan sampling” was effective at producing ample and reliable data that could be used to analyze the bear's behavior without adding significant work to the keepers' daily routine. Zoo Biol 29:503–508, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.