Increasing our understanding of personality, at an individual and group level, is crucial to the pre-release assessment of social species within ex situ reintroduction programs. We conducted the first exploration into thepersonality of a captive-origin pride of African lions (Panthera leo), assessing behavioural variations and consistencies in daily activity, social and hunting behaviour, and boldness. Data were collected via direct observations, while a species-specific protocol for testing boldness, using playbacks, was developed. Differences in sex, age and session time for the activity budget were evaluated using Pearson correlations and repeated-measures ANOVA, while social interactions were analysed using social network analysis. Spearman's correlations were conducted to assess for associations between boldness scores, activity and sociality. The two boldness tests provided a range of scores per lion, indicating that the test was effective. Correlations and variations in individual behaviour indicated that adults and sub-adults have specific roles withinpride behaviour. Correlations between boldness and activity and social behaviours provided information on the role of individuals, allowing investigation into the behaviour of a dominant and a social keystone. Our study indicates that evaluating various aspects of behaviour in conjunction with boldness has the potential to assist the pre-release assessment of a pride within an ex situ reintroduction program.
Dunston, E., Abell, J., Doyle, R. E., Evershed, M., & Freire, R. (2016). Exploring African lion (Panthera leo) behavioural phenotypes: individual differences and correlations between sociality, boldness and behaviour. Journal of Ethology, 34, 277-290. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-016-0473-9