Herrelko E, Buchanan-Smith HM & Vick S (2015) Perception of available space during chimpanzee introductions: Number of accessible areas is more important than enclosure size. Zoo Biology, 34 (5), pp. 397-405. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21234
Restricting animals to different areas of their enclosure, for both brief and extended durations, is a key element of animal management practices. With such restrictions, available space decreases and the choices the animals can make are more limited, particularly in relation to social dynamics. When unfamiliar individuals are introduced to each other, group dynamics can be unpredictable and understanding space usage is important to facilitate successful introductions. We studied the behavioral, welfare-related responses of two groups of zoo-housed chimpanzees (n = 22) as they were introduced to each other and experienced a variety of enclosure restrictions and group composition changes. Our analysis of available space while controlling for chimpanzee density, found that arousal-related scratching and yawning decreased as the number of enclosure areas (separate rooms) available increased, whereas only yawning decreased as the amount of available space (m2) increased. Allogrooming, rubbing, and regurgitation/reingestion rates remained constant as both the number of enclosure areas and amount of space changed. Enclosure space is important to zoo-housed chimpanzees, but during introductions, a decrease in arousal-related scratching indicates that the number of accessible areas is more important than the total amount of space available, suggesting that it is important to provide modular enclosures that provide choice and flexible usage, to minimize the welfare impact of short- and long-term husbandry needs. Zoo Biol. 34:397–405, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
enclosure size; animal welfare; captivity; chimpanzee; zoo
Zoo Biology: Volume 34, Issue 5
|Publication date online||30/07/2015|
|Date accepted by journal||07/07/2015|