Behavior Management. IHC Polar Bears International
- D. Moore, D. Shepherdson
This study was focused on finding the cause of stereotypic behaviour in a male polar bear (Ursus maritimus). The zoo wants to reduce the stereotypies present in their male polar bear. However, this can only be accomplished if the cause of the behaviour is identified and targeted . In this study external factors from 3 different categories (i.e. husbandry, geography and environment) are investigated to find out which possible stressors affect the polar bear’s behaviour. Video recordings of the polar bear’s behaviour and the different external factors were processed with The Observer XT 7.0 software program and later analysed. Many different factors influence the male’s behaviour, both positively and negatively. The polar bear’s response to these external factors lead to believe his stereotypies have a coping origin, where the animal uses the rewarding endorphins, that are released due to his stereotypies, to cope with continuous stressful situations in his environment . Further experimental research is recommended to investigate to what degree the different factors found in this study can be altered to create a more suitable environment for this polar bear.