Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Compartamientos de los jaguares cautivos y administración de prácticas mejores



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Publication Date

December 2016


As the number of jaguars in captivity grows, the need to better understand the activity level and behavioral effects of captive jaguars increases. By understanding the specific activities and behaviors of jaguars in captivity, it is possible to better provide for the overall health of these animal in rescue centers, zoos, and wildlife sanctuaries. This first part of this study consists of a comprehensive activity budget report, which assesses the activity and inactivity levels in a male jaguar and female jaguar at the Centro Rescate de Las Pumas in Cañas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. These activity budgets were constructed through an observational study consisting of daytime, early morning, and evening observations, and nighttime camera trapping. The second part of this study explores the effectiveness of various forms of environmental enrichment, and makes recommendations to encourage incorporation of knowledge about individual jaguars into forms of environmental enrichment designed to improve the quality of life of captive jaguars. Activity of the two jaguars was found to differ between each individual, and a higher level of activity during the late night and early morning, but was overall much lower than that of jaguars in the wild as reported by Rabinowitz and Nottingham in 1985. Different stimuli in the environmental enrichment study produced different scores of effectiveness, with commercial perfumes intended for human use and logs scented with male jaguar scent scoring the highest. This study recommends that rescue centers understand individual jaguars through activity budget reports and individual behaviors, and take measures to provide environmental enrichment for captive jaguars in order to increase their levels of activity and overall wellbeing.


Con el aumento en el número de jaguares que viven en cautiverio se incrementa la necesidad de entender mejor sus comportamientos. Entendiendo las actividades específicas y sus comportamientos es posible proveer mejores condiciones para éstos animales en centros de rescate, zoológicos y santuarios. La primera parte de mi estudio consistió en observar los periodos de actividad, así como de inactividad de dos jaguares, uno macho y una hembra, en el Centro de Rescate Las Pumas, en Cañas Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Observé directamente ambos jaguares durante el día y durante la noche dispuse cámaras trampa. En la segunda parte de mi estudio exploré formas de enriquecimiento del ambiente de cada jaguar, haciendo recomendaciones para alentar y conocer formas de enriquecimiento del ambiente para mejorar la vida de jaguares cautivos. Las actividades de los dos jaguares fueron diferentes, con un nivel de actividad mayor durante la noche tarde y temprano por la mañana. La actividad de los jaguares en cautiverio fue menor que lo informado para jaguares silvestres. En cuanto al enriquecimiento de su ambiente, los diferentes estímulos produjeron marcadores de efectividades diferentes; los perfumes comerciales y los troncos con olores de jaguar macho recibieron marcadores más altos. Con mi estudio recomiendo que los centros de rescate entiendan a cada jaguar individualmente a través de reportes de sus actividades y comportamientos específicos, y provean enriquecimientos del ambiente a cada jaguar cautivo, aumentando así los niveles de actividad y los niveles de salud de los animales.


Captive wild animals--Behavior, Environmental enrichment (Animal culture), Jaguar, EAP Fall 2016

Palabras claves

Animales salvajes cautivos--Comportamiento, Enriquecimiento ambiental (Cultura animal), Jaguares, EAP Otoño 2016


14 pages

Geographic Location

Cañas (Guanacaste, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Captive jaguar behavior and best practice management, December 2016



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