Abstract # 18:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 11:00 AM-11:10 AM: Session 2 (Shell Room) Oral Presentation


TRANSFER OF FOOD PREFERENCES TO PHOTOGRAPHS IN CAPTIVE WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS (GORILLA GORILLA GORILLA)

A. W. Clay1,2, B. Perdue1,2, T. L. Maple1 and M. A. Bloomsmith1,3
1Georgia Institute of Technology, Psychology Department, 654 Cherry Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30332 - 0170, USA, 2Zoo Atlanta, 3Yerkes National Primate Research Center
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If an animal could recognize representations of items, such as photographs, this could expand our ability to provide an element of choice to captive apes. The current study evaluated the food preferences of 4 adult male gorillas using a pair-wise presentation procedure. Following food preference assessment, another pair-wise presentation procedure using photographs in place of actual food items was conducted. Selecting a photograph of a food item resulted in the animal receiving that food item. We hypothesized that preference for food items would match preference for photographs of the food items. A Chi-squared test was used to determine if observed photograph preferences were significantly different from expectation based on the actual food preference. Three out of 4 subjects' photograph preferences were not significantly different from food preferences [Χ2(9)/ozzie=3.60, p>0.05; Χ2(9)/charlie=9.26, p>0.05; Χ2(9)/stadi=9.23, p>0.05]. For the fourth subject, photograph preferences were not significantly different for 8 out of the 10 possible pairings but overall, Chi-squared indicated a significant difference [Χ2(9)/kekla=22.09, p<0.05]. Continued exploration of the ability of gorillas to use photographs to indicate preference could improve captive ape welfare and these results indicate this is a worthwhile endeavor.