Abstract # 4592 Poster # 157:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 21 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


THE EFFECT OF CROWD SIZE ON AFFILIATIVE AND AGONISTIC BEHAVIORS IN ZOO-HOUSED TUFTED CAPUCHINS (CEBUS APELLA).

M. E. Daniels and J. R. Tobey
San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Escondido, CA 92027, USA
line
     Visitor effect on the behavior of zoo-housed primates has been a common research topic with previous research having conflicting results. San Diego Zoo’s front gate guest counts afforded the opportunity to employ hourly evaluations of visitor density to correlate with behavioral data collection. For this study, 13 tufted capuchins (Cebus apella) in a multi-male, multi-female group (7-37years old) were observed from November 2012 through February 2013 for a total of 106 hours. Behavioral data was collected using focal animal instantaneous sampling and all-occurrences of events sampling methods. All behaviors were totaled to reflect a single value proportion and classified as either High Crowd (>7000 visitors) or Low Crowd (<4000 visitors). No overall differences were found in behavioral states between High and Low Crowd conditions. However, behavioral events (all-occurrences) indicated some interaction of crowd size. Similar to previous research, capuchins displayed slightly more intra-specific affiliative behaviors during the Low Crowd condition (7.04% vs 9.54%) There was a significant effect on intra-specific agonistic (1.49% vs 3.33%) and external/guest affiliative behaviors (2.73% vs 6.25%), which more than doubled from Low to High crowd. These results suggest that crowd size may have some adverse affects on intra-specific behavior but positive increase on guest affiliative interactions. Future research should focus on visitor effect on individuals or innate behavioral differences of biological sex and how it manifests relative to crowd size.