To access this work you must either be on the Smith College campus OR have valid Smith login credentials.

On Campus users: To access this work if you are on campus please Select the Download button.

Off Campus users: To access this work from off campus, please select the Off-Campus button and enter your Smith username and password when prompted.

Non-Smith users: You may request this item through Interlibrary Loan at your own library.

Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Cheetah, Environmental enrichment (Animal culture), Behavioral assessment, Smell, African cheetah, Captivity, Olfactory stimuli, Behavioral analyses


Environmental enrichment is used in zoos to introduce new stimuli to captive animals in order to improve their health through increased activity and decreased stress (Wells, 2009). This experiment sought to analyze the practical use of ecologically relevant scents as enrichment tools for captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at two zoos in Ohio, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and The Wilds. As cats use scent marking for inter- and intra-specific communication in the wild (Hunter, 2005), this study observed the behavioral responses of cheetahs to enrichment stimuli from the urine of African herbivores and carnivores. The goals of these experimental observations were to analyze the importance of this sense for cheetahs and to understand the effectiveness of these stimuli as enrichment tools. Captive cheetahs interacted longer with the scented objects than the unscented controls, while they investigated the herbivore scents more often than the carnivore-scented objects. Measurements throughout the trials of activity level and of the presence of important rare behaviors, including scent marking and rolling, resulted in no differences per scent type, species scent, or when comparing the subjects' behaviors before and after the enrichment was introduced. Similar behaviors were observed at both zoo locations. The increased interest in the olfactory stimuli and the resultant presence of natural, species-appropriate behaviors demonstrate the potential for these scents to be used as environmental enrichment in zoos to support the welfare of their captive animals through guided inter-specific interactions.




116 p. : col. ill. Honors project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-105)