Boredom Will Be the Death of Me: The Power of Animal Enrichment in Big Cat Conservation

Zoos and rehabilitation centers play vital roles in big cat conservation efforts, serving as research centers and rescue facilities that contribute to both captive and wild conservation strategies. Animal enrichment is integral to the daily care of captive animals, stimulating cognitive abilities, encouraging natural behaviors, and enhancing overall welfare, thus aiding in conservation efforts. A recent study evaluated biological factors such as sociality and body weight, as well as husbandry factors like group size and enrichment provision, in relation to zoo animal welfare indicators such as playtime and engagement with the environment. The study found that animal enrichment, rather than biological factors, significantly reduces stereotypical anxious behavior, increases activity, and promotes interaction with the environment, thereby enhancing the animals’ quality of life.

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