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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #272
CE Offered: BACB
Spice Up My Habitat! Systematic Evaluations of Environmental Enrichment at the Zoo
Sunday, May 30, 2010
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Lone Star Ballroom Salon A (Grand Hyatt)
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Christy A. Alligood (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science)
CE Instructor: Erick Dubuque, Ph.D.
Abstract: Environmental enrichment is often closely tied to efforts to create optimal animal welfare in captive environments, particularly zoological institutions. The presentations in this symposium examine systematic evaluations of the effectiveness of enrichment strategies using behavioral measures. These presentations represent studies spanning multiple species, habitats, and types of enrichment. The first presentation will describe a study of running wheel use in Key Largo woodrats. Implications for the evaluation of enrichment strategies in general will be discussed. The second presentation will discuss the use of GPS/GIS technology for measuring the behavior of large mammals, including the trial-and-error process of adapting the technology for this purpose and potential applications for the study of environmental enrichment. The third presentation will describe a study examining the effects of various environmental enrichment strategies on African elephants’ use of their enclosure space. Finally, the fourth presentation will describe a comprehensive system for measuring the behavior of captive animals across changes in environmental enrichment.
‘Round and ‘Round They Go: Assessment of Wheel Running as an Enrichment Strategy for Captive Key Largo Woodrats (Neotoma Floridana Smalli)
CHRISTY A. ALLIGOOD (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science), Amanda M. Pavese (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science), Andre J. Daneault (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Animal Husbandry), Anne Savage (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science)
Abstract: In captive animal management, environmental enrichment strategies are frequently implemented with the overall goal of improving animal welfare. Typical objectives of enrichment strategies include introducing novel sensory stimulation, providing greater opportunities for species-typical behavior, and increasing the availability of behavioral choices. A crucial step in assessing the utility of enrichment strategies is the measurement of targeted vs. general outcomes (i.e., whether and how the enrichment “worked”). A targeted outcome can be defined as a specific behavior (or category of behaviors) to be influenced by an enrichment strategy. A general outcome can be defined as any interaction with enrichment stimuli. We measured the activity levels of five naïve captive Key Largo woodrats across multiple phases of running-wheel exposure and removal. While all animals engaged in wheel running, the presence of the wheel did not increase overall activity levels. For Key Largo woodrats in particular, these results imply that running wheels may be of greater use as a general enrichment strategy that provides stimulation and choice than as a specific strategy to increase activity levels. These results also illustrate the need for detailed outcome-based assessments of the utility of enrichment strategies in general.
GPS Assessment of Animal Behavior in Zoos
JOSEPH SOLTIS (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science), Katherine A. Leighty (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science), Anne Savage (Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education and Science)
Abstract: Recently, there has been an increasing movement among zoo professionals toward designing animal habitats and environmental enrichment programs with the goals of maximizing opportunities for species-typical behavior and providing a variety of activity choices. Global positioning system and global imaging system (GPS/GIS) technologies can be used to evaluate how animals utilize their environments. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we have implemented GPS and GIS technology to determine factors that influence daily walking distance and differential resource use among African elephants (loxodonta africana). As determined by GPS technology, African elephants walked 3.68 km per 9-hour observation period while in their outdoor exhibits. Walking distance was positively correlated with exhibit size and ambient temperature. Also, higher-ranking individuals utilized a greater proportion of the available space and demonstrated increased access to a watering hole compared with lower-ranking animals. I discuss methods for attaching GPS devices to elephants and white rhinoceros (ceratotherium simum), GPS accuracy in zoo environments, and practical applications of GPS and GIS technology for evaluating the effectiveness of exhibit design and enrichment programs.
Manipulating Enrichment to Expand Enclosure Usage of Captive African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana)
KATHRYN LYNN TUCKER (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas), Deborah Fripp (Dallas Zoo)
Abstract: In recent years, the welfare of captive elephants has become a highly publicized issue. It has been shown that elephants in the wild walk for long distances each day. As a result, many zoological facilities receive public pressure to expand their elephant exhibits in order to allow for such naturalistic behavior to occur. The purpose of this study is to determine what environmental variables have an effect on the amount of enclosure used by captive African Elephants (loxodonta africana). Four unrelated adult female African elephants at the Dallas Zoo were studied before, during, and after a transition from a small enclosure (less than one acre) to a larger enclosure (approximately five acres). Data was collected throughout the day on each elephant’s location, accessible areas, activity, and interactions. After baseline measurements were taken in the small enclosure, environmental variables were manipulated to examine the effects on the amount of enclosure used. Variables of interest include the schedule, type, and location of enrichment presentation as well as the schedule and location of feedings. Baseline measurements were taken in the large enclosure and the same variable manipulations were applied. Results are pending.
The Captive Animal Activity Tracking System: A Systematic Method for Evaluating Captive Animal Welfare
KATHRYN L KALAFUT (Brown University), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Defining and measuring animal welfare has been a long time goal for captive animal institutions. In order to understand and provide the highest degree of welfare for animals in captivity two things are necessary: the identification of the critical elements that make up welfare, and the utilization of a data collection system that is sensitive to changes in these critical elements over time, thar also does not impede on staff members valuable time and resources. The captive animal activity tracking system was developed in light of both of these issues. The system measures aspects of both the animal and its environment to show each individual animal’s particular environmental interactions, area usage, stereotypic behavior, activity and inactivity levels. The system utilizes a time sampling method and behavioral ethogram similar to the one used by Gordon Paul in 1987 to provide unique treatment packages to individuals in a crowded mental hospital. The importance of these areas in measuring animal welfare as well as data collected using the captive animal activity tracking system over the span of two years, measuring the effects of changes in enrichment and environment for two American black bears (Ursus americanus), will be discussed.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh