Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Heidi Lyn

Advisor Department



Animals living under human care experience stress related to a lack of control over t environment. One way to remedy this is through the use of cognitive enrichment, su choice and control of enrichment. This type of enrichment has been shown to have benefits for animals under human care including increased activity and social interactions. To determine if choice and control was more beneficial than enrichmen alone, a three year old male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was ex to novel enrichment items in two experimental conditions. For the first condition, th animal was given a novel object. During the second condition, the animal was asked choose between two novel enrichment items and the selected item was added to his environment. Activity level, habitat usage, social, and play behaviors were recorded following the addition of the novel item to the animal’s environment. The results indicated an increase in non-stereotypic behaviors and object play. An increase in attention during training sessions was also seen during the experimental conditions.