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Effects of sex and early rearing condition on adult behavior, health, and well-being in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

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Scientific evaluation of management strategies for captive species is part of the establishment of best practices for animal welfare. Here we report the effects of sex, rearing, and a sex-by-rearing interaction on adult, captive chimpanzees’ (Pan troglodytes) behavior, health, well-being, personality, and orientation towards humans based on multiple methods (observation, animal records, and surveys). Chimpanzees raised in three conditions, mother-reared (MR), standard nursery (ST) and an experimental nursery (RC), were assessed approximately 20 years after their differential rearing experiences concluded. Sex had a significant effect on behavior towards conspecifics (aggression [M > F]; affiliation [F > M]), on abnormal behavior (rocking [M > F]), and on likelihood of incurring at least one injury (between ages 6 and 10 [M > F]). Rearing condition had a significant impact on behavior towards humans (negative solicitation [RC = ST > MR = ST]; neutral behavior [RC > ST > MR], yawning (RC = ST > MR = ST), subjective well-being (MR = ST > RC = ST), and on GI illness frequency (RC > ST = MR). Sex interacted with rearing on aggression towards humans (for males, RC > MR = ST), frequency of upper respiratory infection (URI: for males RC > MR = ST)) and likelihood of at least one URI between the ages of 11 and 15 (RC males > ST males). Our findings support the conclusion that there are long-term effects of both early rearing and sex on captive adult chimpanzee welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-76
Number of pages19
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume156
Early online date26 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

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