Date of Award
Master of Science
AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF MARCUS C. ABSTON, for the Master of Science degree in ZOOLOGY, presented on 18 April 2017, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: EFFECTS OF OLFACTORY ENRICHMENT ON AFRICAN CHEETAHS (ACINONYX JUBATUS) MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Carey Krajewski Environmental enrichment has been an essential part of felid husbandry in zoos, serving to reduce both physiological and psychological stress. Olfactory enrichment is one of many interventions used to prevent stereotypic behavior caused by stress in felids. However, little research has been done on this practice. The purpose of this study was to compare behavioral responses of four captive African cheetahs to six types of commercial fragrances used as olfactory enrichment stimuli. Three of these fragrances are marketed as “men’s cologne” and three as “women’s perfume”. The fragrances were also categorized as musky, spice, and floral types. Behavioral responses were recorded by live observations during 36 bouts at the St. Louis Zoo. There was a significant difference between cheetahs’ interaction time with male and female fragrances; they seemed to prefer male colognes. However, there was no significant difference in interaction time among fragrance types. Engagement behaviors varied among individuals (e.g. sniffing, scent rolling, pawing), but were similar to those reported by previous authors. These findings suggest that commercial fragrances may be a useful option for African cheetah olfactory enrichment.
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