When a habitat becomes a home: Housing and husbandry of spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®
Keywords:acclimation, behaviour, enrichment, management, training
When animals are moved between facilities, as is commonly done in zoos, it may take them time to acclimate to their new surroundings. One way that zoos can increase animals’ comfort in their new habitat is through training and enrichment programmes. In 2014, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® received two spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta that had not been previously housed in a zoo environment. To acclimate the hyenas to zoo life, a training and enrichment programme was designed, implemented and evaluated. During this time, formal behavioural observations were conducted on the frequency of behaviours such as resting, traveling, pacing and feeding. From these data, behavioural time-budgets were created to track changes in the frequency of behaviours over time. The study found that the hyenas spent the majority of their day resting, followed by traveling, and overall, revealed a decrease in pacing throughout the data collection period. From these observations and experiences with the training and enrichment programmes, it is recommended that facilities housing hyenas be prepared to evaluate their programmes often, as the hyenas were found to be capable and fast learners, benefitting from a routine and feeding strategies that included different types of food in varying presentation formats.