Abstract # 20:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015 09:45 AM-10:00 AM: (Cascade H) Oral Presentation


S. R. Ross
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
     Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are a species for which the study of abnormal behavior is well-documented in a variety of captive environments. These behaviors are used to indicate a welfare problem though there is some ambiguity as to whether the simple presence of abnormal behavior or some measurable frequency of these patterns is the appropriate performance standard for captive environments. Birkett & Newton-Fisher (2011) concluded that abnormal behavior was endemic in zoo-housed chimpanzees (6 zoos, n=40). Here, we used survey methods to characterize the prevalence of abnormal behaviors over a more complete population of zoo-housed chimpanzees (30 zoos, n=235). Overall, 62% of this population was reported to have shown at least one abnormal behavior in the last two years compared to 100% in the previous paper. Both studies identified coprophagy and hair-plucking as the most prevalent abnormal behaviors though our data suggest they are less pervasive (coprophagy: 39% versus 81%; pluck: 32% versus 58%) than previously reported. Also differing from the previous analysis, we found the prevalence of abnormal behaviors was influenced by the origin of the individual (KW=8.13, p=0.04); zoo-housed chimpanzees from laboratories tended to show higher rates of these behaviors than those from other origins. These findings demonstrate the importance of a representative sample when characterizing a population’s behavioral profile and aid our understanding of the prevalence of abnormal behaviors in this species.