The effect of a new enclosure on the behaviour of a large captive group of lion-tailed macaques Macaca silenus
Keywords:enrichment, enclosure, visitor effect
The captive environment can significantly impact animal behaviour. Relocating a captive group to a more biologically relevant enclosure can positively impact behaviour and welfare. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a new enclosure on the behaviour of a captive group of lion-tailed macaques Macaca silenus located in Fota Wildlife Park. The macaques were moved in late January/early February 2015 to an enclosure that is larger and more complex but is in closer proximity to visitors. Baseline data were collected from February to October 2014, prior to the move. Data in the new enclosure were collected for the 2 months following the move, prior to additional changes occurring in the group. One year since the relocation, data were collected again, in February and March 2016. The results showed that in the months following the move to the new enclosure the macaques spent more time out of sight and less time engaged in self-directed behaviours. Visitor number had an impact on behaviour of the macaques, but there was no significant difference between the two enclosures in terms of visitor effect. Further monitoring will continue to determine the effect of the new enclosure on behaviour.
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