Examination of Hygiene of the Feeding Environment of an Adult Female Lion (Panthera leo) in Mvog-Betsi Zoo in Yaounde, Centre Region, Cameroon

Abstract

Lions are iconic species of wildlife, both loved and feared. While they do not have the striking color patterns of a jaguar or the cultural significance of a tiger, the striking mane and complex social structure make them unique among all the wild cats. The objective of this research was to examine the nutritional care and feeding behavior of the lion in Mvog-Betsi Zoo. Data collection was done for a period of 3 months, 6 days each week, from 7:00am-6:00pm. Hygiene of both the feeding and non-feeding environment (animal enclosure), food-type, feeding behavior, and feeding position were recorded in the data sheet.  The results of the study showed a significant link between  feeding behavior, hygiene of enclosure, food-type, feeding position, and feeding time, r = 0.350 P<0.05, r = 0.276 P<0.05, X2 = 5.962 df=2, P<0.05, and r = 0.302, P<0.05 respectively. The animal enclosure was 70% dirtier than clean, though the animal still fed in this enclosure, it was remarked with an unprecedented aggressive behavior. Also, beef and chicken were more accessible in the meat market, 60% and 40% respectively, facilitating the management of animal feeding. Interestingly, the behavior of lying while in captive feeding was dominant over standing, 87% and 13% respectively. Aggressive behavior was the most observed feeding behavior and recorded 60%, while walking was the least, 13%. Additionally, a significant association was recorded between the hygiene conditions of non-feeding environment on the animal position and behavior, X2 = 18.592 df=2, P=0.000 and X2 = 4.617 df = 6, P<0.05 respectively. Furthermore, the animal displayed a spectrum of behaviors during the non-feeding periods, and the behaviors were resting, moving, roaring, and auto-grooming, recording an observation of 66%, 15%, 10%, and 9% respectively. The adult female lion of Mvog-Betsi Zoo is principally fed with only cattle meat and chicken, however, feeding this animal with a whole animal carcass like a sheet, goat, etc. is very important at least once monthly to simulate a healthy wild feeding.

Keywords: Aggressive behavior, feeding behavior, hygiene condition, lions, wildlife

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 52-67 (Download PDF)

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