A literature survey to assess the motor activity of wild gorillas in order to provide environmental enrichment for their health in captivity
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The motor activity of gorillas in the wild is influenced by several factors besides feeding and foraging. Captive gorillas are unable to express ranging behaviour typical of wild gorillas as their physical space is restricted. They are being managed which has an influence on various aspects of their life including feeding, social interactions and reproduction. Gorillas in zoo environment are provided with food and sometimes also enriched with food. The combination of this feeding behaviour and restricted physical movement is causing health problems in captive gorillas. Although most zoo parks aspire to stimulate their animals both physically and psychologically the results are often far from optimal, even less comparable to that of their wild conspecifics. The most time consuming activities of gorillas are those related to foraging and feeding and abnormal behaviour caused by inadequate handling in captivity is often seen as regurgitation and re-ingestion activities. By improving the exhibit structure and appearance the exhibit is given more naturalistic qualities and when further enriching the animals with manipulable objects and techniques promoting motor activity the results are gorillas in better health and behavioural condition.