Abstract # 71:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


C. I. Gurguis, K. E. Wagner and S. R. Ross
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA

The space use patterns of captive primates are inherently influenced by the spatial constraints of their physical enclosures. With this perspective, some facilities have explored enclosure alternation as a method of balancing these influences and providing a source of environmental enrichment. However the behavioral effects of this approach remain largely untested, particularly from a cross-species perspective and within a single facility. At the Lincoln Park Zoo, chimpanzee and gorilla groups are alternated between two of four naturalistic enclosures approximately every 8-10 months. To evaluate the impact of these changes, behavioral data were collected as part of ongoing monitoring of chimpanzees (N=11) and gorillas (N=4) during seven alternations. Following previous work, we compared data from a 3-week pre-rotation period, a 1-week initial-return period immediately after the alternation, and a 3-week post-return period. A two-factor ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of alternation. Compared with pre-rotation data, inactivity levels for both species decreased during both the initial-return and post-return phases (F(2,81)=3.48, p=0.036). The observed decrease in inactivity may result from heightened arousal upon the return to the home exhibit as apes re-habituate to environmental changes within the enclosure. Consistent with previous studies, these results support that intermittent exhibit alternations do not evoke substantial changes in behavior for 2 species of captive great apes and may serve as an effective enrichment strategy.