Feeding enrichment and behavioural changes in Canadian lynx Lynx Canadensis at Louisville Zoo

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Abstract

A study at Louisville Zoo examined whether feeding enrichment significantly increased the level and diversity of activity in a 4 year-old ♂ and a 15 year-old ♀ Canadian lynx Lynx canadensis. Dead prey items, such as day-old chicks, trout and mice, were hidden around the outdoor exhibit. Previously, these items were fed in the holding area with processed diet. Activity levels and enclosure use were recorded for a total of 37 hours under three feeding conditions: baseline data prior to the addition of the hidden prey; prey items offered on a daily basis; prey items offered only twice in one week. Follow-up observations of behavioural changes were made 26 months later. The ♂ lynx showed a significant reduction in time spent sleeping and resting, particularly when the hidden prey was offered daily. Because a new 2 had been introduced by the time of the follow-up observation it was not possible to assess the long-term changes in the study ♂'s behaviour.

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