relationships.
Additionally general research on bachelor groups in zoos should focus on the
relatedness of the groups to provide stronger evidence as to whether the factor
relatedness plays a role in the structure of the group.

 

Finally, although the
device was well utilised and significantly increased the provisioned foraging
rates of the geladas, the geladas did not appear to use the grass element to a
great extent. The grass element may be more useful to the geladas during harsh
winter months when the grass turnover rate in the UK is much slower (Woledge et al., 1990). So perhaps building an
alternative device to be used in the warmer months, which does not have a frame
for grass, would benefit the keepers, as they would not have to change out the
grass regularly.

 

 

LIMITATIONS

This study has faced several limitations
throughout the process. Firstly, due to the design of the enclosure the
observer was unable to see the entirety of the enclosure, including inside the
night house. Although, preliminary tests indicated the front of the enclosure
was the best position to collect data, the geladas did spend a sizable amount
of time out of sight of the observer. This limitation could have affected the
accuracy of the nearest-neighbour recordings and key behaviours could have been
missed. This could be overcome in the future with the use of camera traps
around the enclosure. The scan samples were recorded every five minutes,
therefore actions between the time blocks may have been missed. Nevertheless,
the 32 hours observations per treatment should overcome this. The irregular
feeding and maintenance of the geladas may have impacted the comparability of
the results. Ideally the geladas would have been fed and the enrichment device
placed at the same time throughout the study period, but this was not possible
due to the keeper’s schedules. In response to this, the total time spent
observing doesn’t match up between experimental and baselines.

 

The design of the
enrichment device had a few limitations itself. The weight of the frame meant
that the device often rested on the grass side. However, the geladas were
capable of manipulating it if they wanted to. However, in the future it may be
more beneficial to equal the weight out on both sides of the device. The device
was also filled with hay and chopped vegetables. Originally seeds and pellets
were going to be used but due to small quantity and irregular use there wasn’t enough
to fill device adequately every day. The geladas also pulled the hay out and
forage next to device on occasion. However, in the future the Wild Place
Project are looking to increase grass pellet and reduce fruits and live feed,
so the device may be more useful in the future if filled with pellets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.
Conclusion

 

The use of enrichment in zoo is a very
common practice, used to increase welfare and maintain natural behaviours of
species. This study has shown that the use of a nutritional foraging enrichment
device can encourage stimulation of similar activity budgets of geladas to
their wild counterparts. The introduction of six monopolisable enrichment
devices to a bachelor group of six geladas is shown to increase the groups
provisioned foraging significantly. Showing that the use of a foraging device
can ensure the geladas gain equal access to their provisioned diets. There was
also a slight increase in non-provisioned foraging in the troop, reinforcing
the results of Jones and Pillay (2004), that an enrichment device can encourage
appetitive foraging. However, unlike their study, all the individual animals
could access a device at the same time, suggesting that the introduction of any
enrichment device can increase appetitive foraging and reduce inactivity. The
results also show that an enrichment device can be used to encourage geladas to
utilise their enclosure to a more equal extent. Future research should be
conducted on the foraging behaviour throughout the entire year in captivity, to
increase understanding of how a geladas enclosures plant population should maintained.
Finally, for bachelor groups in captivity, relatedness appears to be a factor
in how the bachelor groups form. However, due to the small sample size of this
study this should also be researched further.

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