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Faculty Mentor

Charles D. Dieter

Abstract

A behavioral study was conducted on the black and white ruffed lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs at Bramble Park Zoo in summer 2004 to determine if the furniture in the exhibit was sufficient to enable them to display their natural behaviors. The study was performed using a time sampling method of one minute, and ten hours of data was gathered. Both species of lemur spent a significant portion of the observed time resting, more so than has been found in wild populations of lemurs. The time spent foraging (.33% and 2.5% for the ruffed lemurs and 2.1% for the ring-tails) and the time spent displaying locomotion behaviors (1.6% and 7.0%for the ruffedlemursand4.45%for the ring-tails) were found to be lower in the captive lemurs compared to data for wild lemurs (-30-40% foraging and 17% locomotion behaviors). Black and white ruffed lemurs, which are primarily arboreal in the wild, spent a majority of time on the ground. The ring-tailed lemurs, a semi-terrestrial species, spent around 50% of the time in the tree and around 40% of time on the ground, which is similar to ring-tailed lemurs in the wild; however, most of that time was spent resting rather than foraging or displaying locomotion behaviors. Several ideas pertaining to furniture modifications and food presentation methods were suggested as a means to increase natural behaviors as well as decrease the amount of time spent resting.

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