Breeding European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris, Schreber, 1777) in species-specific enclosures for reintroduction in Germany.

In: VARGAS, A., BREITENMOSER, C. & BREITENMOSER, U,: Conservación Ex situ del Lince Ibérico: Un Enfoque Multidisciplinar / Iberian Lynx Ex situConservation: An Interdisciplinary Approach: 453-461. Published by Fundación Biodiversidad in collaboration with IUCN Cat Specialist Group


In the course of a long-term experimental study in Switzerland, a species-specific enclosure for European Wildcats was developed in which animals encounter all the structures and stimuli relevant to their behaviours as regards all functional cycles. The natural habitat of a species is commonly regarded as the environment where the animals' needs are best met. Since the species has adapted to the demands of this environment in the course of its evolution, this is where the animals are able to perform their natural behaviours. Consequently, the behaviour of animals living in the wild can be used as a basis for deducing zoo environments. However, most animals are difficult to observe in the wild. A large, complex and richly structured enclosure can be a substitute for the natural habitat if the animals are provided with the essential structures and stimuli necessary for performing their natural behaviours. An enclosure can be used as a substitute for the natural habitat and therefore as a reference for other housing systems if the animals in this enclosure are free of behavioural disturbances and if their behaviour does not deviate from that of their conspecifics in the wild, which is the case in my wildcat enclosures. The cats show a rhythm of activity similar to the one of their conspecifics in the wild, and an electronic feeding device, specifically tailored to wildcats, enables them to express very nearly the whole range of their natural hunting behaviour. The essential structures must be available in the right arrangement within the enclosure, with the keeper's appropriate behaviour as the second and equally important factor. The results of this study as well as the feeding technique have been applied in several wildlife parks in Switzerland and Germany.


Gelesen 4343 mal Letzte Änderung am Montag, 18 Juni 2018 13:38
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