Abstract # 13351 Event # 136:

Scheduled for Friday, August 23, 2019 04:15 PM-04:30 PM: (Room 325) Oral Presentation


A. W. Clay, M. A. Crane, R. Merino and M. A. Bloomsmith
YNPRC Field Station, 2409 Taylor Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA

Over the course of four years, dietary changes were implemented with 27 chimpanzees to improve the animals’ health and welfare. Data regarding the animals’ weights and body condition scores (BCS) were collected. For the first year, all chimpanzees received increased vegetables, but continued to receive group-fed primate biscuits in feeders. After the first year, BCS had not significantly improved for the 16 subjects who were not at ideal weights prior to treatment (t(15)=.417, p=.683). Animals at ideal weights prior to treatment did not show any significant change. At the end of the second year, animals who received 12 months of hand-fed biscuits were significantly more likely to be of ideal weight than those still being group-fed (Chi-square(1)=8.00, F.E.=.01, N=24). By the end of the third year, all chimpanzees were receiving hand-fed biscuits. At the end of the fourth year, BCS were compared to BCS before the start of the study and found to be significantly improved, t(23)=5.06, p<.001. The total months chimps were hand-fed biscuits correlated significantly with the difference between actual and ideal weight: The longer the chimpanzees were hand-fed biscuits, the less difference between actual and ideal (N=20, r=-496,p<.05). While transitioning to hand-feeding was challenging, the effort paid off in improved health for the chimpanzees. It also encouraged better monitoring of each chimpanzees’ overall physical condition, attitude, and sociality.