Abstract # 7908 Poster # 18:

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


THE EFFECTS OF A SEEMINGLY DISRUPTIVE AIR SHOW ON THE BEHAVIOR OF TWO SPECIES OF ZOO-HOUSED APE

J. Whyte, A. Kwaitt and S. R. Ross
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
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     Unexpected loud noises can negatively impact the behavior of captive animals, but little is known about the impact of disruptive noise on great apes. We compared the behavior of gorillas (n=17) and chimpanzees (n=14) at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL) in relation to the annual Air and Water Show, during which very loud aircraft regularly fly above their enclosures. We compared 308 hours of behavioral data over nine years (2005-2013) on the two species prior to, during, and after the event. Chimpanzees displayed no significant difference in behavior rates before, during, or after the event. Gorilla behavior however differed significantly during the week of the air show; compared to a baseline period prior to the event, gorillas showed higher rates of agonism (t78=2.23, p=0.03) and higher rates of prosocial behavior (t78=-2.23, p=0.03), but lower rates of abnormal behavior (t78=-2.36, p=0.02). These results suggest that the two species of apes react differently to noise-related disruptions and that gorillas in particular may be sensitive to sporadic loud noise. While little can be done to prevent some environmental disturbances such as this show, managers can use data like these to inform strategies designed to buffer animals from behavioral disruption.