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Behavioural study of Asian elephants in Antwerp Zoo: seasonality and effects of a scatter feeder

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Abstract
The first goal of this study was to gain insight in the behaviour of a herd of Asian elephants in captivity and to test if their behaviour varies over a longer period. On the other hand, the influence of the use of an enrichment feeder on the behaviour of the elephants was tested. For the first part of the study, the herd and some environmental variables were observed during several weeks, spread over the course of a year. For all observed periods, the frequency of behaviour was the highest for feeding, standing and locomotion. A difference was defined between behaviour that all the animals of the herd showed and individual behaviour. The synchronicity of certain behaviours was tested and the elephants were found to eat and stand synchronous. For locomotion, door directed behaviour and standing by an entrance, a significant difference in behavioural frequency was found between several observation periods. The frequency of stereotypic behaviour, door directed behaviour and standing by an entrance showed a highly significant positive correlation with the mean daily temperature. Also, the longer the animals spent outside, the higher the frequency of standing by an entrance was. The effect of the enrichment feeder was tested using an A1BA2 design. The feeder succeeded in breaking the behavioural pattern of the elephants for a short period of time, but in the long run, the machine could only influence the activity budgets of the animals slightly. Options are suggested to enhance the environmental enrichment for elephants using an automatic feeder. This study is suggested to be a starting point for further investigation of the behaviour of the Asian elephant in captivity.
Keywords
activity budget, Elephas maximus, seasonality, stereotypies, scatter feeder, environmental enrichment

Citation

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Chicago
Haspeslagh, Maarten, Jeroen Stevens, Etienne Hanon, and Christel Moons. 2011. “Behavioural Study of Asian Elephants in Antwerp Zoo: Seasonality and Effects of a Scatter Feeder.” In BIAZA Research Symposium, 13th Annual, Abstracts.
APA
Haspeslagh, Maarten, Stevens, J., Hanon, E., & Moons, C. (2011). Behavioural study of Asian elephants in Antwerp Zoo: seasonality and effects of a scatter feeder. BIAZA Research Symposium, 13th Annual, Abstracts. Presented at the 13th Annual BIAZA Research Symposium.
Vancouver
1.
Haspeslagh M, Stevens J, Hanon E, Moons C. Behavioural study of Asian elephants in Antwerp Zoo: seasonality and effects of a scatter feeder. BIAZA Research Symposium, 13th Annual, Abstracts. 2011.
MLA
Haspeslagh, Maarten, Jeroen Stevens, Etienne Hanon, et al. “Behavioural Study of Asian Elephants in Antwerp Zoo: Seasonality and Effects of a Scatter Feeder.” BIAZA Research Symposium, 13th Annual, Abstracts. 2011. Print.
@inproceedings{1851780,
  abstract     = {The first goal of this study was to gain insight in the behaviour of a herd of Asian elephants in captivity and to test if their behaviour varies over a longer period. On the other hand, the influence of the use of an enrichment feeder on the behaviour of the elephants was tested. For the first part of the study, the herd and some environmental variables were observed during several weeks, spread over the course of a year. For all observed periods, the frequency of behaviour was the highest for feeding, standing and locomotion. A difference was defined between behaviour that all the animals of the herd showed and individual behaviour. The synchronicity of certain behaviours was tested and the elephants were found to eat and stand synchronous. For locomotion, door directed behaviour and standing by an entrance, a significant difference in behavioural frequency was found between several observation periods. The frequency of stereotypic behaviour, door directed behaviour and standing by an entrance showed a highly significant positive correlation with the mean daily temperature.  Also, the longer the animals spent outside, the higher the frequency of standing by an entrance was. The effect of the enrichment feeder was tested using an A1BA2 design. The feeder succeeded in breaking the behavioural pattern of the elephants for a short period of time, but in the long run, the machine could only influence the activity budgets of the animals slightly. Options are suggested to enhance the environmental enrichment for elephants using an automatic feeder. This study is suggested to be a starting point for further investigation of the behaviour of the Asian elephant in captivity.},
  author       = {Haspeslagh, Maarten and Stevens, Jeroen and Hanon, Etienne and Moons, Christel},
  booktitle    = {BIAZA Research Symposium, 13th Annual, Abstracts},
  keyword      = {activity budget,Elephas maximus,seasonality,stereotypies,scatter feeder,environmental enrichment},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Bristol, UK},
  title        = {Behavioural study of Asian elephants in Antwerp Zoo: seasonality and effects of a scatter feeder},
  year         = {2011},
}