Effect of Enclosure Size and Complexity on the Behaviors of Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Anthropology and Museum Studies

Publication Date



Reports describing the implementation of innovative facility designs are important to both the primate caregiving community and policymakers reviewing current U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. This study documents the changes in behavior of 5 adult chimpanzees that coincided with transfer from the Psychology Building Facility to the large and complex chimpanzee enclosure within the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) in Ellensburg, Washington. In 1993, the chimpanzees were relocated from a small facility with a 27.87-m² indoor suite of enclosures to a new 587-m² indoor and outdoor facility. The 1st study compares the activity budgets of the chimpanzees before and after the transfer. The 2nd study compares patterns of locomotion at the 2 facilities. The 3rd study examines the chimpanzees' patterns of use of the features at the new facility. The chimpanzees traveled more and exhibited more species-typical behaviors at the CHCI, including climbing and leaping. The pattern of locomotion and postures at the CHCI was similar to the pattern of locomotion and postures observed in free-ranging chimpanzee populations. The chimpanzees used all structures and all areas in the facility, especially elevated structures and the outdoor enclosure.


This article was originally published in Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science


Copyright © 2001, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.