American Journal of Primatology 73, 1231-1238

Assessing the effects of cognitive experiments on the welfare of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) by direct comparison of activity budget between wild and captive chimpanzees

Yumi Yamanashi, Misato Hayashi

Abstract

We investigated the effects of cognitive experiments by direct comparison of activity budgets between wild and captive chimpanzees. One goal of captive management is to ensure that the activity budgets of captive animals are as similar as possible to those of their wild counterparts. However, such similarity has rarely been achieved. We compared the activity budget among three groups of chimpanzees: wild chimpanzees in Bossou (Guinea, n = 10), and captive chimpanzees who participated in cognitive experiments (experimental chimpanzees, n = 6) or did not participate in the experiments (nonexperimental chimpanzees, n = 6) at the Primate Research Institute (Japan). The experimental chimpanzees voluntarily participated in computer-controlled cognitive tasks and small pieces of fruits were provided as rewards. The data from captivity were obtained on the experimental days (weekdays) and nonexperimental days (weekends). In both study sites, we followed each chimpanzee from about 7 a.m. until the time when chimpanzees started to rest in the evening. The behaviors were recorded every 1 min. The results showed that on weekdays, feeding time and resting time of the experimental chimpanzees were almost the same as those of wild chimpanzees. However, for the nonexperimental chimpanzees, feeding time was significantly shorter and resting time was longer than those of the wild chimpanzees. In contrast, no difference was found in feeding time or resting time of the two groups of captive chimpanzees on weekends. The results suggested that the cognitive experiments worked as an efficient method for food-based enrichment.

Keywords

cognitive experiments, activity budgets, chimpanzees, welfare, wild-captive comparison

Yamanashi Y, Hayashi M (2011) Assessing the effects of cognitive experiments on the welfare of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) by direct comparison of activity budget between wild and captive chimpanzees American Journal of Primatology 73, 1231-1238 , doi: 10.1002/ajp.20995