Abstract # 7878 Poster # 22:

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


THE RESPONSE OF SANCTUARY CHIMPANZEE (PAN TROGLODYTES) GROUPS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE DEATH OF A GROUPMATE.

L. Case, E. Lisle, M. Lewis and A. Fultz
Chimp Haven, 13600 Chimpanzee Pl, Keithville, Louisiana 71047, USA
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     Understanding the role death plays in a chimpanzee colony may influence management. Studying death-related events could be beneficial, since chimpanzees that retire to Chimp Haven also die here. We hypothesized that chimpanzees would respond to a dead groupmates’ body that died due to illness or an acute event. Euthanasia deaths were excluded as the body is removed from the group. We created a survey for caregivers present at the time of death or when the body was discovered. Ten surveys were completed for six different deaths from five separate groups. The groups cried/whimpered and/or displayed/hit at the body in 50% of the deaths. Vigilance, watching and remaining near the body, occurred in 67%. When a chimpanzee passes, staff must access the body for necropsy. This requires isolating the body from the chimpanzee’s group. In 83% of attempts, group members would not leave the body immediately (< 1 min). Isolation of the body took over 30 minutes in two cases. We suspected that the rank of an individual may influence the group dynamic after the individual’s death, and group cohesion, based on proximity calculations, might be affected. We have collected 90 hours of data via scan sampling on 33 subjects (10 males, 23 females) in four groups. We present preliminary data on this aspect of the study, with no deaths in the selected groups to date.