Abstract # 34:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 04:30 PM-04:45 PM: Session 8 (3rd Floor All Space) Oral Presentation


S. R. Ross and K. E. Anderson
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
     Field studies of wild primates often include measures of daily travel distances used to estimate home ranges and territorial boundaries. The analysis of captive animal space-use however, is usually focused on habitat use, environmental preferences and management effects. In such studies, captive environments are typically characterized as a constraint against which the natural roaming behavior of animals is restrained. In this study, we used detailed point-time sampling methods to estimate daily travel distances for gorillas (n=11) and chimpanzees (n=6) living in a naturalistic, indoor-outdoor zoo exhibit in a temperate climate. Daily data were collected over a 3-month period (May – July 2011) using a map-interface on a tablet computer. An ANOVA revealed no species differences (F(1,13)=9.58, p=0.955) nor age category differences (F(1,13)=464.30, p=0.692) in daily travel distances. There was, however, a significant species by age interaction effect (F(1,13)=15911, p=0.034) in which young chimpanzees travelled less than adult chimpanzees and young gorillas travelled more than adult gorillas. The mean distance travelled for these chimpanzees (1.2km/day) and gorillas (1.06km/day) both fall within published ranges for their wild counterparts. These results suggest that captive apes in well-designed enclosures might not be as constrained in terms of exercise and locomotory opportunities as previously characterized. Further investigation of captive travel distances will bolster efforts to understand the complex interaction between animal’s motivations, welfare and the environments in which they live.