Abstract # 2406 Event # 74:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 04:30 PM-04:40 PM: Session 9 (Meeting Room 1DE) Oral Presentation

Emergence of Natural Behaviors in Sanctuary Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes)

A. Fultz and L. Brent
Chimp Haven, Inc. , 13600 Chimpanzee Place, Keithville, LA 71047, USA
     Naturalistic environments are often provided for captive apes to increase species typical behaviors. At Chimp Haven, two groups of chimpanzees retired from biomedical research over the past three years live in large 4-5 acre forested habitats.  The groups include a total of 15 males and 21 females; 17 group members are wild-born.  Ages averaged 32.8 years with one newborn.  Data were collected to determine the chimpanzees’ adaptation to the forest environment, and we report here on the chimpanzees’ use of natural vegetation.  The habitats were entered monthly from February 2007-February 2008 to count nests and determine make up and location of the nests.  During other behavioral observations data were recorded on what vegetation the chimpanzees were eating.  Natural vegetation was utilized in a variety of ways including as forage material, to build nests, and as tools. Sixty three different ground nests were observed.  The chimpanzees ate 9 types of vegetation consistently, including elm, oak, and sweet gum.  Nests were made out of 11 types of vegetation.   Differences were observed between the groups with only one group eating sap and bark.  Wild born chimpanzees were seen climbing the trees and eating vegetation in 72.46% of the observations compared to 27.54% for captive born chimpanzees. The chimpanzees have adapted to their forest home quickly and species typical behaviors have emerged with the new environmental opportunities.