Welfare promoting environments: assessment and management in sanctuary chimpanzees

Crailsheim, Dietmar
Due to the curiosity and interest humans show towards great apes such as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), we can find large numbers of captive chimpanzees all over the world housed in a wide array of living conditions. Chimpanzees can be found in zoos, sanctuaries and rescue centers, yet others might still be part of private unregistered animal collections, held as pets or used in the entertainment industry. Chimpanzees held in illegal and/or species inadequate living conditions need to be relocated to institutions that have the capacity and resources for rehabilitation and to provide lifelong care. Accordingly, most chimpanzees housed at sanctuaries and rescue centers have a history of adverse living conditions which may include traumatic events such as witnessing the death of their mothers and/or group members and prolonged social isolation, prior to their rescue. Providing these primates with a welfare promoting environment can be very challenging considering their highly complex social and environmental demands. In this thesis we analyzed long-term behavioral data of former pet and entertainment chimpanzees housed at a primate sanctuary (Fundació MONA), which allowed us not only to explore the long-term impact of these adverse early life experiences on the behavior but also to evaluate the effects of sanctuary housing. Specifically, we could demonstrate that past adverse experiences during infancy produce a lasting impact on the social behavior of former pet and entertainment chimpanzees. Furthermore, by using multilayer social network analysis, we were able to analyze their social preferences, capabilities and possible impairments in more detail. In the third article, we also looked into the potentially negative impact unfamiliar human visitor activities might have on these chimpanzees and how an adequate environment and visitor regulations, strictly controlled by the housing organizations, may reduce said negative impact. Each piece of information, gained during this thesis, allows us to further improve our understanding of an ideal welfare promoting environment and the chimpanzee´s needs in captivity. It might also enable us to further improve our capacity to evaluate chimpanzees’ behavior and welfare in future study designs and may serve husbandry staff to take even better decisions regarding the rehabilitation, social integration and life-long care of severely impaired chimpanzees ​
​L'accés als continguts d'aquesta tesi queda condicionat a l'acceptació de les condicions d'ús establertes per la següent llicència Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/