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Role of personality in behavioral responses to new environments in captive asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica)

Pastorino, GQ and Viau, A and Curone, G and Pearce-Kelly, P and Faustini, M and Vigo, D and Mazzola, SM and Preziosi, R (2017) Role of personality in behavioral responses to new environments in captive asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica). Veterinary Medicine International, 2017. ISSN 2090-8113

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Abstract

Copyright © 2017 Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino et al. Studying personality in captive animals may enable the development of individual-based management decisions, which may improve animal welfare. Asiatic lions at London Zoo represent an opportunity to research an understudied species' response to new environments since they have experienced social and physical changes, such as new enclosures and increased social interaction with humans. This project aimed to investigate the role of personality in behavioral responses to these changes. Lion personality questionnaires completed by keepers and direct focal animal observationswere used to create personality profiles. Time budgets and enclosure use were determined and compared between control nights and event nights and between the lions' previous enclosure and their new one.The results showed a lack of difference in time budget and enclosure use between control and so cial event nights, and the spread of participation index values revealed that the lions use their enclosures unevenly. Personality profiles identified various traits that could assist with individual-based management decisions. As the first study to assess Asiatic lions personality, this research contributes to the creation of consistent and valid methodology for evaluating captive animal personality that may improve husbandry and welfare protocols for individual lions, leading to the improved health and success of the species.

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