Effects of Enrichment on Captive Ring-tailed Lemurs
Evans, Madison T. 1997--
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This research aimed to examine the effects of different enrichment devices on the behavior of a group of four captive ring-tailed lemurs at Summerfield Zoo in Belvidere, IL. Enrichment has been shown to increase the overall health and wellbeing of animals living in captivity by encouraging natural behaviors while discouraging harmful behaviors. This project studied the reactions the lemurs had to four different feeding enrichment devices over a seven-week period. Lemurs sat and slept significantly more and interacted less during the pre-enrichment period (17%, 61%, 0% respectively) as compared to the during-enrichment period (34%, 0%, 33%) (T=5.74, p <0.001, T=14.17. p <0.001, T=-6.64, p < 0.001). Lemurs also sat more and slept less during the post-enrichment (28%, 30%) than during the pre-enrichment period (17%, 61%) (T=-3.69, p<0.01, T=8.10, p<0.001). There were no significant differences in the effects of the four different enrichment devices on the lemurs’ behavior. As wild ring-tailed lemurs are active during most of the day, the devices successfully increased naturalistic behaviors, and these effects persisted even in the post-enrichment period. These results suggest that zoo and sanctuary animals can benefit from exposure to different enrichment devices, and that even simple, inexpensive enrichment devices are effective and should be included in the daily care of all animals.