Enrichment Comparison Of African Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus) Housed In U.S. AZA-Accredited Institutions

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Cloutier, Tammy L.
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Enrichment encourages the diversity of naturally occurring behaviors, increases activity, and reduces stereotypic behavior. By considering the life-history and behavior of each carnivore species, more effective enrichment options may be provided. African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus, also known as Painted Dogs) are social carnivores that have complex pack dynamics (this includes degree of relatedness, pack size, etc.) and large home ranges. As there are relatively few studies on Painted Dog enrichment, the goal of this study was to compile a list of enrichment options used by institutions participating in the African Painted Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP). Data were provided by representatives at 23 (61%) institutions, who were asked to identify and describe social groups and enclosures, the frequency that enrichment was offered for each of six enrichment categories, the perceived success of each enrichment category, and overall best practices for enrichment. The majority of single-sex (n=17) and mixed-sex groups (n=28) were housed in enclosures with both naturalistic and concrete features. Respondents reported options for all six enrichment categories: environmental enrichment devices (n=22), habitat (n=11), sensory (n=28), food (n=26), behavioral (n=10), and social (n=2). All reported delivering enrichment at least multiple times a month, and most reported multiple times per week. Food and behavioral enrichment were perceived as most successful. I discuss respondents’ suggestions for best practices for each type of enrichment category. Overall, respondents recommended a flexible approach, since not all individuals and groups respond in the same way to the enrichment options available for Painted Dogs.