Abstract # 13097 Poster # 111:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2018 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Chula Vista ) Poster Presentation


EVALUATING THE SUCCESS OF THE REINTRODUCTION OF AN INFANT WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA (GORILLA GORILLA GORILLA) INTO A ZOO-HOUSED FAMILY GROUP

L. E. Lively1, S. R. Ross1, M. Leahy2 and L. M. Hopper1
1Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL 60614, USA, 2Animal Care and Horticulture Department, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, 60614, USA
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     Long-term negative effects have been documented in hand-reared captive gorillas. Therefore, in this case study, we evaluated the reintroduction of 9-month old gorilla Nayembi to her natal group, at Lincoln Park Zoo, after a five-month medically-required separation. While separated, Nayembi was provided with 24/7 human-assisted care and was housed adjacent to her natal group, allowing visual, olfactory, and tactile contact with her mother. We analyzed Nayembi’s mother-infant relationship (MIR) during the three months following her reintroduction and compared it to the MIR of another infant (Patty) during the same developmental period. Patty was born one month prior to Nayembi in the same family group, however she was never removed. For MIR, we recorded the inter-individual distance between the infants and their mothers using group-scan methods (108.5 observation hours for Nayembi, 84.5 hours for Patty). Directly after her reintroduction, Nayembi maintained an average distance of 1.40m (SD=0.77) from her mother. This reflected Patty’s average mother-infant distance of 1.24m (SD=0.85) at the same age. Over the three months following reintroduction, as they matured, both Nayembi and Patty showed an increase in the distance from their mothers: the average mother-infant distance increased by 14% for Nayembi and by 10% for Patty. Thus, both infants showed a comparable and typical trajectory of development, highlighting the success of the care provided during the separation and the reintroduction.