Why does home range size predict captive Carnivora welfare?

Miranda Bandeli, Emma Mellor, Georgia Mason

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Zoos and sanctuaries currently house all 286 species of order Carnivora. Here, some respond well to these captive conditions, while other species are prone to high levels of stereotypic behaviour (SB; mainly route-tracing), and high rates of infant mortality. To understand why, we built on and replicated previous research (Kroshko et al. 2016 in Animal Behaviour) by updating a SB database to cover 1960-2016 inclusive; this now contained data from 2337 individuals across 57 Carnivora species, for 28 of which data were available from 5 or more subjects. Using phylogenetic generalized least square regressions and 21 species with natural home range size (HRS) data, we analyzed the effect of HRS on a species’ median time spent performing SB. Like Kroshko et al., our analyses showed that wide-ranging species spent more time route-tracing (P= 0.042, F2,18=2.351). More data are currently being collected and analyzed to address two new questions. First, are any potential determinants of natural HRS (e.g. metabolic rates, population density, population group size, and territoriality) better at predicting route-tracing SB than natural HRS is? If yes, these variables could help better identify those species that are best suited for captive life. Second, are any potential consequences of a wide-ranging lifestyle (e.g. having long daily travel distances, small day range to annual range ratios, and large hippocampal volumes) better predictors of route-tracing SB than natural HRS? If yes, then these variables could help inspire new, effective, evidence-based enrichments for preventing or reducing carnivore SB.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017
EventThird International Symposium on Zoo Animal Welfare - Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Zoological Society , Chicago, United States
Duration: 8 Oct 201710 Oct 2017


ConferenceThird International Symposium on Zoo Animal Welfare
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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