Cluster analysis in ethological research


T. V. Antonenko, S. V. Pysarev, A. V. Matsyura, E. V. Antonenko

Abstract. Big cats are often on display in zoos around the world. The study of their time budget is the basis of ethological research in captivity. The paper considers the features of the behavior of the subfamily Pantherinae, the daily activity of animals in the summer, methods of keeping, the exposition of enclosures, and relationships with keepers. The studies were conducted in the summer of 2012 and 2013 at the Barnaul Zoo. The total observation time for the animals was 120 hours. The behavior of the African lion (Panthera leo leo – male), the Ussuri tiger (Panthera tigris altaica – female), and the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis – male) has been studied. In the course of the work, the compilation of ethograms, continuous recording, and free observations were used. The clustering method was applied to analyze the patterns of behavior of animals in captivity. Cluster analysis breaks down the behavior of captivities animals into two large blocks. Locomotion in animals should be considered as a separate block. The animal’s growth and development period require a high proportion of physical activity, which is noticeable when observing the Amur tiger. Locomotion occupied 32.8% of the total time budget of this animal. Large cats have never been in a shelter (in wooden structures of the appropriate size). They used the roof of the houses only as a place for rest and observation. The proportion of marking, hunting, eating, exploratory behavior, grooming, and such forms of behavior as freezing, static position, orienting reaction did not differ significantly.

Play behavior with elements of hunting and manipulative activity took 5.5% of the Amur tiger’s time budget for the period under review. We associate this primarily with the age of the given animal. Play behavior was observed two times less often in the Far Eastern leopard (2.9%) and African lion (2.6%).

Keywords: Big cats, captive animals, environmental enrichment, cluster analysis, Pantherinae.



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