You are here: Home Publications Investigating the Relationship between Welfare and Rearing Young in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Investigating the Relationship between Welfare and Rearing Young in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Cronin, K. A., West, V., & Ross, S. R. (2016). Investigating the Relationship between Welfare and Rearing Young in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 181, 166-172. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2016.05.014.
Whether the opportunity to breed and rear young improves the welfare of captive animals is currently debated. However, there is very little empirical data available to evaluate this relationship and this study is a first attempt to contribute objective data to this debate. We utilized the existing variation in the reproductive experiences of sanctuary chimpanzees at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust in Zambia to investigate whether breeding and rearing young was associated with improved welfare for adult females (N = 43). We considered several behavioural welfare indicators, including rates of luxury behaviours and abnormal or stress-related behaviours under normal conditions and conditions inducing social stress. Furthermore, we investigated whether spending time with young was associated with good or poor welfare for adult females, regardless of their kin relationship. We used generalized linear mixed models and found no difference between adult females with and without dependent young on any welfare indices, nor did we find that time spent in proximity to unrelated young predicted welfare (all full-null model comparisons likelihood ratio tests P > 0.05). However, we did find that coprophagy was more prevalent among mother-reared than non-mother-reared individuals, in line with recent work suggesting this behaviour may have a different etiology than other behaviours often considered to be abnormal. In sum, the findings from this initial study lend support to the hypothesis that the opportunity to breed and rear young does not provide a welfare benefit for chimpanzees in captivity. We hope this investigation provides a valuable starting point for empirical study into the welfare implications of managed breeding.

Supplementary materials

About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn