Caselli, M., Messeri, P., Dessì-Fulgheri, F. et al. 2022. Enriching zoo-housed ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta): Assessing the influence of three types of environmental enrichment on behavior. Animals 12(20), 2836.

Environmental enrichment is a management tool used to promote positive animal welfare by stimulating species-specific behaviors and providing animals with opportunities to exert choice and control over the environment. Our study aimed to evaluate the combined effect of three enrichment types and environmental/individual factors (i.e., individual age and rank position) on the behavior of six adult Lemur catta hosted at Pistoia Zoo (Italy). We collected data from June to September 2013 using a within-subject experimental design consisting of five conditions: Baseline, Food-based enrichment, Physical enrichment, Auditory enrichment and No enrichment provided. We conducted six 30-minute observation sessions per sampling day (total = 107 h). We recorded the animals’ behavior via 2-minute focal animal sampling per individual per observation period and analyzed data with Generalized Linear Models. The study group only performed normal species-specific behaviors. Enrichments decreased stress-related behavioral patterns, whreas environmental and individual factors influenced the other recorded behaviors. Our study confirmed the usefulness of employing an integrated methodological approach to enrichment assessment for enhancing captive lemur care.

Animal Type