Abstract # 216:

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


K. Walker1, D. Travis2, A. E. Pusey1 and E. Lonsdorf3
1Duke University, 130 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708, USA, 2University of Minnesota, 3Franklin and Marshall College
     Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are unusual among primates in that most females disperse from their natal community after sexual maturity in a process known to be socially costly. Immigrating females frequently receive aggression from resident females and are socially peripheral despite receiving male support. Previous research indicates that in some populations cortisol levels are elevated in new immigrants but other health consequences of the transfer period and subsequent social isolation have yet to be quantified. Here, I examine 15 years of health records covering two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania to compare frequency of three health symptoms (gastro-intestinal, respiratory and wounding) in immigrant females (n = 13) and newly mature natal females (n = 13). Abnormal health reports were uncommon in this age group and the most frequent health issue was wounding. Immigrant females were significantly more likely to be wounded than natal females (p = 0.017). Injuries to the anogenital region were most common and accounted for 38% of all observed wounds. These preliminary data extend findings from multiple sites and show that aggression against immigrants at Gombe also results in a higher frequency of wounding. Reports of gastrointestinal and respiratory disease were too infrequent to analyze statistically but, interestingly, respiratory disease was less common in immigrant females which could be an unintended benefit of their greater degree of social isolation.