Assessing Success

Several methods can be used to assess which enrichments are successful. These are based on the ideas that captive animals should perform species-specific behaviors, activities or interactions they prefer, and activities in which they are highly motivated.

Enrichment is a way to ensure that an animal's natural behaviors are able to be passed from one generation to the next. Enrichment that encourages species-specific behaviors have been studied and found to help reintroduction of endangered species into their natural habitats, as well as helping to create offspring with natural behaviors.

The main way the success of enrichment can be measured is by recognizing behavioral changes that occur. An animal's behavior can be measured using an ethogram. To determine if these behaviors are normal and occurring at a normal rate, the ethogram can be compared to a wild individual's activity budget. If the budgets match, it's a good indication your enrichment is effective!

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