Abstract # 14:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


A. J. Reddy and M. L. Bastian
Smithsonian Institution, Department of Animal Care Sciences, National Zoological Park, MRC 5507, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA
     Like their wild counterparts, zoo-housed orangutans make nests daily when given adequate materials, suggesting that the primary function of orangutan nests is for rest and sleep, and that orangutan nests are more similar to human beds than to the more permanent nest home bases of birds and other mammals. As part of a larger study comparing the nesting behavior of six orangutans at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo with wild orangutan nesting behavior, we disseminated a survey throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with an aim to document the use of preferred nesting materials, locations, and innovative behaviors observed in the nesting context in zoo-housed orangutans. We present a summary of survey results, indicating the presence of at least one behavior that occurs only rarely (7% of the 31 facilities surveyed), as well as several universal patterns of nesting behavior across institutions. We also report an interesting innovative behavior in the nesting context that appears to be engaged in more often by females than by males (X2 = 4.390, df = 1, p = 0.036).