Behavioural Profiles of Brown and Sloth Bears in Captivity

Pastorino, G Q and Christodoulides, Y and Curone, G and Pearce-Kelly, P and Faustini, M and Albertini, M and Preziosi, R and Mazzola, S M (2017) Behavioural Profiles of Brown and Sloth Bears in Captivity. Animals, 7 (5). p. 39.

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Abstract

Three brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) individuals and two sloth bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus) individuals were observed in captivity to produce behavioural profiles for each individual. Data collected through behavioural observations were used to produce activity budgets, and to identify space usage and certain aspects of social behavior. Behaviour monitoring allowed the researchers to evaluate the welfare of the animals by identifying the occurrence of stereotypic behaviours, which are sometimes associated with stress. Behavioural profiles were created using data obtained through behavioural observations (coding) and keeper questionnaires (rating). The behavioural observations indicated a number of stereotypic behaviours in sloth bears but not in brown bears. The uniformity of zone usage was calculated to investigate if the enclosure size and features were adequate for use, and a social aspect of otherwise solitary animals was also identified. The behavioural profiles generated through coding and rating were compared to determine the reliability between these two methods in Ursids. Profiles were not compared between individuals since this study is not a comparison between different personality types but rather an effort (one of the few ones existing in literature) to select a valid and reproducible methodology capable of assessing personality in bears.