Abstract # 140:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 04:15 PM-04:30 PM: Session 14 (Regency East #2) Oral Presentation


FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE FORMATION OF A LARGE CHIMPANZEE SOCIAL GROUP

A. Fultz, L. Brent and L. D. Panu
Chimp Haven, 13600 Chimpanzee Place, Keithville, LA 71047, USA
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     As chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are retired from biomedical research and transferred to sanctuaries, there is an urgent need to integrate unfamiliar chimpanzees into cohesive social groups. To encourage more species typical behavior at Chimp Haven a group of 17 adult chimpanzees (age range: 16-46 years) was formed over a 4 month period. Each chimpanzee’s social interactions were recorded for one hour following the introduction of new individuals. Most interactions between familiar individuals were affiliative and were often behaviors associated with reassurance, such as embrace and touch. Chimpanzees that were already familiar with each other did not interact as often as unfamiliar individuals. The first positive contact behaviors were embrace, inspect, and mouth and occurred during the first 5 minutes of the introduction. Age was not a significant factor in the analysis. Males performed more aggressive (U=16, p<0.04) and submissive behavior (give: U=16.5, p<0.05, receive: U=0, p<0.01) than females. Social behavior during introductions was not related to whether the chimpanzees were born in captivity or in the wild, but was related to past social experience. Chimpanzees previously housed in small groups of 3-6 individuals had significantly lower levels of aggression (H=8.36, p<0.02) and received less aggression (H=8.62, p<0.01) and fewer affiliative behaviors (H=9.5, p<0.001). During the successful and rapid formation of a large chimpanzee social group, male chimpanzee’s and those with more social experience showed higher levels of social interaction suggesting factors to be considered when determining introduction methods and procedures.