Spontaneous tool-use: An observation of a dingo (Canis dingo) using a table to access an out-of-reach food reward
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Opportunities to observe non-human animals exhibiting naturalistic 'high-order' behaviour are rare. Examples featuring canids, although often anecdotal and involving captive animals are potentially valuable, as they may provide an opportunity to examine complex problem-solving behaviour not easily observed in free-ranging settings. This paper describes observations of two captive male dingoes (Canis dingo), representing possible examples of high-order behaviour. The first set of observations involved a sub-adult male that spontaneously (i.e., without training) learned to move objects around his enclosure, apparently to multiple ends, such as in an effort to gain the additional height required to attain objects otherwise out of reach, or to attain a better view of his surroundings. The second set of observations involved an adult male that learned to open a gate, possibly in an effort to gain access to a female. These observations add to the small number of anecdotal accounts offering a window into the cognitive abilities of canids, and the observations involving the sub-adult male appear to be the first documented cases of tool-use in a canid.
Environmental Impact Assessment