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Male Amur Tiger

According to the sign this method of feeding is 'Unique in Europe'. It may have been when they started but I'm sure I have seen other collections do something very similar. Anyone else? 22.08.08

Male Amur Tiger
mjmorg89, 25 Aug 2008
    • mjmorg89
      According to the sign this method of feeding is 'Unique in Europe'. It may have been when they started but I'm sure I have seen other collections do something very similar. Anyone else?

    • James27
      I don't think it's unique. Dartmoor puts their lion's food up a tree which is the same principle, and I'm sure other places do the same thing
    • Mike11
      This Feeding principle was First thought up at the old Glasgow Zoo but since then South Lakes have taken it over
    • PAT
      A fair few Zoos do. Dreamworld on the Gold Coast does this.
    • torie
      as does dubbo
    • Jordan-Jaguar97
      This is Egor, he died a few years ago.

      His sister Nina still lives at the park and she is still alive and well:D
    • bigcat speciali
      You can find the UFAW "Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals" by R.J. Young via the UFAW webiste or if don't have it try the NHBS website, with most likely the largest seller of such books around.

      You will indeed find a Photograph of the feeding pole plus tiger at Glasgow Zoo on page 91 and on pages 94 & 95 & 96 you will find other methods for other cats: Ocelot using swing-pole feeder and Margay using rooftop feeder; again all pictures and reference to Glasgow Zoo

      You will also find excellent guidlines, methods, drawings and description of many more and that of above in the ABWAK's Guidelines for Enrichment Book.

      Page 120.
      Big Cat Feeding Pole:

      "The simplest solution for recreating the energy outlay of a big cat during hunting and killing was to place the tiger's food at the top of a wooden telegraph pole (fig.6) The 20 ft (6 metres) high pole and loose fitting wooden peg hammered into the near top upon which the food (part of a horse or cow leg) was hung.

      In order to prevent fighting only one tiger at a time was given access to the loaded pole. The pole was fitted in a grassy enclosure which provided a soft surface for the cat to land on. The cat often stalked the food pole using trees and surrounding bushes for cover before charging forward and up (law et al., 1997). It is interesting to note that the muscles used to power the tiger up the feeding pole are similar to those that big cats use to grasp prey (Turner and Anton,. 1997). It was noted that the food, once pulled to the ground, was not always immediately eaten. Instead the tiger wandered away from the food and sometimes charged back up the pole. This behaviour may have been to rid the cat of excess adrenaline built up in the "hunt". This theory was hypothesised by Leyhaussen (1979) who described the behaviour of leaving freshly captured prey as "taking a walk", to work of the excitement the cat had not fully experienced in catching its prey. If this theory is correct then it may have unforeseen ramifications. It is known that in humans exercise improves the mental state (Folkins and Sime, 1981). If this feel-good factor is also present in the animal kingdom then it could be dangerous to ignore, and beneficial to exploit it. It may have been that by taxing the animal physically we were causing positive mood changes, creating a feel-good factor. To date we have only the opportunity to use this technique with tigers and have had no injuries using this device."


      "Counter-Weight Feeders;
      Counter weight feeders were first used in Glasgow Zoo for feeding Asiatic bears (Selenarctos thibetanus). However, these feeders have been used for a number of different species including domestic labatory cats."

      (Kind thank you to ABWAK for use of the above from their Guidelines for Environmental Enrichment)


      Whilst at Glasgow Zoo, the feeding pole was used the following also was noted by Paul Paterson - senior keeper in charge.

      "The tiger feeding pole which was used prior and developed within the zoo (Law et al) it was noted that by using such a method at different times or stages of the week did prove to bolster the cats affectiveness at hunting. Even more so, when the keeper would take shoulders of blood covered beef, and then drag the beef or prey around the enclosure, making sure that parts of bushes, trees, tree trunks, stones and even the pond was tainted with the smell and odour of the prey. At various stages, the beef would be placed in various high places within the enclosure; from being hung over branches, even those way out of distance and height. Eventually a trail was left for the tigers to see, smell, taste and follow. The tigers, all four being let out at the same time, gave the atmosphere of stalking and chassing the prey, with competition and because their was seen to be a pecking order among the ages, sexes and overall smartness of each tiger. It was noted that there was an overall feel-good factor (Folkins and Sime, 1981) and though briefly seen, there was a bonding of all cats, which was unusuall, given the species."
      (Big cat husbandry techniques and application, Paterson et al, 1999)

      I hope this helps and gives some food for thought.
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    South Lakes Wild Animal Park
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