Title

Estrus and Wounding in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) lead complex social lives in fission-fusion communities, with diverse behavioral repertoires, including the capacity for violent aggression. Female chimpanzees also display dramatic anogenital swellings, which aid in synchronizing mating with ovulation, and, in the wild, mating is one of the most common sources of agonistic interactions. In human care, chimpanzees retain their social and behavioral complexity although their environment is drastically different than that of their wild counterparts. Human control of breeding in a captive group can greatly increase the amount of time females spend in estrus; potentially increasing the impact of female swellings group behavior. Although aggression is a natural feature of chimpanzee behavior, it can escalate to serious wounding, and reduce welfare. In a captive environment, where maximizing chimpanzee quality of life is paramount, understanding the causes and correlates of serious intragroup wounding informs husbandry decisions, and aids in the reduction of wounding events. In this study I collected archival wounding and estrus data on seven chimpanzees housed at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW). Preliminary analysis of this data indicates that wounding and the presence of estrus females are negatively correlated, contrary to my predictions and what the literature indicates. Additionally, I did not find a correlation between longterm group stability and reduced wounding, as predicted by the literature. These findings indicate that other factors may be more salient predictors of group wounding rates, and further research is required to determine what factors put chimpanzees groups at risk of a high rate of wounding.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Jessica Mayhew

Department/Program

Primate Behavior & Ecology

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Estrus and Wounding in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

Ellensburg

Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) lead complex social lives in fission-fusion communities, with diverse behavioral repertoires, including the capacity for violent aggression. Female chimpanzees also display dramatic anogenital swellings, which aid in synchronizing mating with ovulation, and, in the wild, mating is one of the most common sources of agonistic interactions. In human care, chimpanzees retain their social and behavioral complexity although their environment is drastically different than that of their wild counterparts. Human control of breeding in a captive group can greatly increase the amount of time females spend in estrus; potentially increasing the impact of female swellings group behavior. Although aggression is a natural feature of chimpanzee behavior, it can escalate to serious wounding, and reduce welfare. In a captive environment, where maximizing chimpanzee quality of life is paramount, understanding the causes and correlates of serious intragroup wounding informs husbandry decisions, and aids in the reduction of wounding events. In this study I collected archival wounding and estrus data on seven chimpanzees housed at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW). Preliminary analysis of this data indicates that wounding and the presence of estrus females are negatively correlated, contrary to my predictions and what the literature indicates. Additionally, I did not find a correlation between longterm group stability and reduced wounding, as predicted by the literature. These findings indicate that other factors may be more salient predictors of group wounding rates, and further research is required to determine what factors put chimpanzees groups at risk of a high rate of wounding.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/101