Environmental enrichment for collared peccaries Dicotyles tajacu, Tayassuidae in managed care: Different items provoke different behavioural responses
Keywords:animal welfare, Cetartiodactyla, conservation, food-based enrichment
Being in human care often modifies the behaviour of animals, mainly because of the lack of environmental stimuli, and the ease of finding food and reproductive partners. Animals in human care may have a poorer behavioural repertoire and lower welfare than their wild conspecifics. Environmental enrichment is a technique that introduces stimuli into enclosures, thereby enhancing the welfare of the animals. In the present study, the effect of different environmental-enrichment items on the behaviour of collared peccary Dicotyles tajacu was investigated. Basins with food, cardboard boxes filled with paper and food items, scent trails and piles of straw mixed with food items were provided to the peccaries. Behavioural recordings were made during the three phases of the experiment: baseline, enrichment and post-enrichment. The environmental enrichment items—especially the straw pile and cardboard boxes—increased exploratory behaviours, decreased inactivity and increased behavioural diversity in the collared peccaries. Enrichment items associated with food rewards resulted in the most significant positive changes in behaviour and should be used for collared peccaries in human care. An increased behavioural repertoire, with less inactivity and greater exploration of the environment, are important for animals that are under human-managed care and indicate an increase in animal welfare.
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