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SA 2218 - Animal Training and Enrichment (Fortier)

Enrichment Project Instructions


Your enrichment proposal is the largest single component of your laboratory grade.  Attached below is a very general outline of what should take place during your 20-30 minute presentation. It is similar to what you’ve seen and heard presented earlier in the course.

There are three basic parts – Introduction, Goals, and Predictions/Assessment.

The fourth component, Bibliography, is straightforward and should require no further explanation.

Research Articles

Research articles are also often known as scientific or peer reviewed articles. If the article is NOT written by the person or group who did the research, it is NOT a peer-reviewed or scientific article. Research articles are important for knowing what new discoveries have been made. This is why it is important to use recent articles, since they will be the first things published on a new scientific development. 

Here's a quick overview of how to identify these journal articles:

  • written by the scientist(s) who actually did the research
  • follows a specific format 
    • abstract
    • introduction
    • materials & methods
    • results
    • conclusions
    • references 
  • assumes reader already knows background information about the topic has been evaluated by experts (peer-reviewed) 
  • Tip:  Look for a statement about when the article was accepted for publication. Most peer-reviewed articles will include one.
Example of a Research Article


Part 1: Locate Enrichment Articles

Today's Assignment

Searching for Topics

Each team member must choose one scientific original research article that includes data collection.  Avoid "Review" articles.  Remember that you are focusing on changing a behavior as a result of enrichment

Try browsing through the journals below to find enrichment techniques which have been tested. 

Searching the Databases

It works best if each group remember selects a database to search in. Begin with Discovery, Google Scholar, and Science Direct. Move onto JSTOR when you have a good idea of your topic because there can be a lot fo irrelevant content. 

Interlibrary Loan

Sources for Non-Scientific Articles

Each group will also need one non-scientific article. Use Shape of Enrichment & Animal Keepers' Forum to locate non-scientific articles for Part 1 of this assignment.

Part 2: Evaluate Enrichment Articles (OPTIONAL)


SA2218 Animal Training and Enrichment                       Lab day/time:                                       

Enrichment project                                                        Names:                                                

Part II: Article reviews                                                                                                              


Complete one copy of this form for each article that you are evaluating. Your instructor will review the basic components in class. You will need to critically read each article in order to identify each of the required components. Submit your evaluations on separate sheets of paper, include the headings for each section as shown below in bold. Do not include the descriptions of each section in your submission.


A. Article citation

List the authors’ names, year of publication, title of article, journal name, issue and page numbers (in this order).



B. Goal

What were the authors trying to accomplish? Reducing stereotypical behaviors? If so which behaviors? Were they trying to reduce stress, improve reproduction or alter other characteristics of the animals in captivity? Did they hope to see an increase (or decrease) in specific behaviors such as foraging, grooming or aggression?



C. Methods

What forms of enrichment were offered? Social groupings? Feeding changes? Providing a new toy or enrichment device?



D. Predictions and assessment

What did they measure to determine whether the goal was met? What changes would you predict if the enrichment was effective? Were those predictions met?



E. Bibliography

Cite 2-3 articles from the bibliography that you feel are most relevant to the paper.

Part 3: Research a Species' Natural History (OPTIONAL)

Resources to Research

Some Questions to Answer

​In the second part of the project you will choose a species of interest and research the natural history of the animal. This information will allow you to better understand the animals’ behavior and plan the most appropriate form of enrichment. This first step (goal-setting) uses our knowledge of the animal’s natural history to generate ideas about behaviors that we might want to encourage in the animal’s current housing or enclosure (exhibit & holding).

1. What is this species’ wild habitat (e.g., desert, tropical rainforest, cover, moisture, concealment/camouflage options, temperature ranges, barriers from conspecifics)? (If specific information on a particular species is unknown, provide information on closely related species/genus/family.)

2. Where does the animal sleep or rest? Does that change seasonally?

3. What are some self-maintenance/comfort behaviors (e.g., preening, grooming, bathing, dust-bathing, wallowing, sunning, panting)? Is there a seasonal molt/shed?

4. When is it most active (diurnal, nocturnal, crepuscular)? Why (e.g., predator avoidance)? Does the activity pattern change seasonally?

5. Does the species in the wild inhabit primarily arboreal, terrestrial or aquatic environments or does it switch between them at times?

6. What are the main threats to the animal in the wild? What is it likely to be afraid of (e.g., conspecifics, humans)? What different types of predators does it have to look out for in the wild? Are there any anti-predator behaviors (e.g., broken-wing display)? Where and how does the animal seek refuge in the wild from fearful situations (e.g., loud noises like thunder)? What does fearful behaviors look like?

7. What are its primary sensory modalities (e.g., sight, smell, sound) for communicating with conspecifics, detecting predators and for finding food, mates, or other social partners?

8. What is the social structure of this species (e.g., solitary, dyads, "harem," colonial, leks, polyandry)? What is the average/typical group size?

9. How does the animal locomote through its habitat?

10. Describe the primary social behaviors of this species (e.g., aggression, courtship, affiliative, play).

11. Does the social structure change seasonally or throughout the animal’s life (e.g., juvenile versus adult, bachelor groups)?

12. Does this species defend territories? Does it maintain a home range? What is the size of the home range/territory? Does this species migrate seasonally?

13. How does the animal advertise its home range or territory (e.g., scent marking, song)? How does the animal attract a mate (e.g., displays, scent marks)? Who displays?

14. Where does the animal raise young (nest location/type, den)? What materials does it use to build nests/prepare dens? Are both sexes involved in rearing young? Are the young precocial or altricial? How are the young fed?

15. What is the animal’s diet type (e.g., omnivore, carnivore, herbivore, nectivore) in the wild? Does diet change seasonally? By age?

16. What does the animal feed on in the wild? What variety of food does it need to eat? What behaviors does it use to locate and procure the different types of food it needs? Does it use tools to obtain food? Store/cache food?

Setting up RefWorks


RefWorks is a new way to collect, manage, and organize research.  You can read, annotate, organize, and cite your research as well as collaborate by sharing collections.

From simple bibliographies to papers formatted with in-text citations or footnotes, RefWorks handles it all. ​To learn more about RefWorks, use our RefWorks research guide.

To create a RefWorks account:

  1. Go to the link below and click Use login from my institution
  2. Fill in your information, making sure to use your DelVal email address.  
  3. Go to your inbox and click the email link to complete the activation process. 

Already have an account? Just go to the link below and click "Log In"

Getting Help