A Social Behavior Comparison between a Hand-Raised and Wild-Caught Group of Male Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/0v838256m

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  • Social behavior such as play, affiliation, and some vocalizations of captive animals can be indicators of good welfare. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) near Otjiwarongo, Namibia are often housed in social groups with various backgrounds. Observations of social and active behaviors were recorded for a group of four hand-raised (HR) cheetahs and of five wild-caught (WC) cheetahs (≥ 5 months old when caught) to determine if there were differences between the groups. The social behaviors for cheetahs may include physical contact, allogrooming, social play, and vocalizations within groups. Comparisons of the frequency of counts engaged in all social behaviors for the two groups showed no statistical significance, but specific social behaviors varied. Allogrooming and physical contact were more frequent for the hand-raised cheetahs. Vocalizations and active behaviors occurred more with the wild-caught group of cheetahs. These results may be related to the cheetah group’s background, enclosure size, or in some cases individual differences within a group. To assess the animal welfare of these groups based on social behavior, further research is needed to understand the cause of these differences.
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