Abstract # 195:

Scheduled for Monday, August 28, 2017 01:00 PM-01:15 PM: (National Ballroom Salon A) Oral Presentation


DEVELOPMENT OF INDEPENDENCE IN AN INFANT WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA (GORILLA GORILLA GORILLA) AT THE PHILADELPHIA ZOO

C. Pavia1,2, T. FITZGERALD1, B. ANANTHA1, S. DEWALD1, A. HALLENBECK1, A. BROOKS1, A. ZABINKSI1 and R. CHANCELLOR1
1WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY, 586 MARTIN ST., PHILADELPHIA, PA 19128, USA, 2PHILADELPHIA ZOO
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     Ape development is unique compared to other species. Infant and juvenile stages are longer in apes than in other mammals due to higher cognitive functioning and longevity of care. However, there are still gaps in our knowledge of these critical life stages. We investigated the development of independence and relationship building in an infant female western lowland gorilla from birth to six months. During 30-minute focals (18.23 hours), we used a combination of instantaneous and all occurrences sampling to record activity budget behaviors of the mother/infant pair as well as proximity to other individuals in the group (1 adult female and 1 silverback). We found that the infant spent 91% of her time in contact with her mother. However, we found that contact time decreased over the six months (R2 = 0.85, F(1,5) = 29.21, p < 0.003). We also found that far-distance (> 5m) between the mother/infant pair and both the other female and the silverback decreased over the six months (R2 = 0.62, F(1,5) = 8.15, p < 0.04; R2 = 0.65, F(1,5) = 9.29, p < 0.03, respectively). In summer 2017, a second infant is due in this group and we plan to include it in this mother-infant study. Our research aims to add to the body of literature on infant development in captive gorillas.