An Investigation of the Sociality and Behaviour of Captive Polar Bears Housed in Bachelor Groups
Alice Cavalleri1, Alexandra Bell1, Kim Wilkins2, James Brereton3, Richard Preziosi1,4, and Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino1,4*
1Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints, All Saints Building, Manchester M15 6BH, United Kingdom
2Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Auckley, Doncaster DN9 3HQ, United Kingdom
3University Centre Sparsholt, Westley Lane, Sparsholt, Winchester, SO21 2NF, United Kingdom
4Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, United Kingdom
*Corresponding Author: Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino, Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints, All Saints Building, Manchester M15 6BH. Emial: email@example.com.
February 01, 2022; Published: February 15, 2022
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a popular and easily recognisable species and has a long history of being housed in zoological collections. However, due to concerns regarding space requirements and welfare, many zoos have since removed this species from their collection plans. Polar bears require spacious enclosures with considerable amounts of enrichment and are susceptible to stereotypy if their needs are not met. Yorkshire Wildlife Park, UK, has set up a large enclosure to demonstrate best-practice care of polar bears. Observations of four male captive polar bears were conducted at the collection, to investigate behaviour and sociality between the individuals. Overall, there was limited social interaction between individuals, with very few instances of aggression observed between individuals. Stereotypical behaviour was also rare in all individuals except one. By contrast, affiliative interactions were observed more frequently, particularly between two bears. Overall, polar bears may possess greater behavioural plasticity and flexibility in social behaviour than wild and captive bear literature suggests.
Keywords: Activity Budget; Ursid; Ursus Maritimus; Wildlife Park; Zoo
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