Abstract # 7994 Poster # 23:

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


N. Cornelius1, K. Enstam-Jaffe1, D. Minier2, C. Henderson1, W. Volkov1 and A. Mrsny2
1Sonoma State University, 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CALIFORNIA 94928, USA, 2Oakland Zoo
     Environmental enrichment enhances the psychological well-being of animals and is therefore a vital part of the husbandry of captive animals. Since chimpanzees are a cognitively complex species, they may especially benefit from enrichment programs that focus on cognitive engagement. We developed a multi-step enrichment plan for seven chimpanzees at Oakland Zoo. Our enrichment consisted of two devices presented to the chimpanzees sequentially and then combined the two devices to learn how increasing complexity affects chimpanzee behavior. We collected 142 hours of behavioral data using focal, scan and all-occurrences sampling from June-November 2016. We hypothesized that by providing the chimpanzees with multi-step enrichment there would be an increase in overall activity but a decrease in aberrant behaviors. As hypothesized the introduction of the enrichment devices resulted in an increase in activity level. After the introduction of the first device there was a 20% increase in activity compared to baseline. After the introduction of the second device, there was a 5% increase in activity compared to baseline. However, the enrichment plan did not decrease aberrant behaviors, as expected. This study provides a preliminary investigation into the use of multi-step enrichment devices and their effect on captive chimpanzee behavior.