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How Chimpanzee Personality and Video Studies Can Inform Management and Care of the Species: A Case Study

How Chimpanzee Personality and Video Studies Can Inform Management and Care of the Species: A Case Study

Chapter:
(p.524) 23 How Chimpanzee Personality and Video Studies Can Inform Management and Care of the Species: A Case Study
Source:
Chimpanzees in Context
Author(s):
Elizabeth S. HerrelkoSarah-Jane VickHannah M. Buchanan-Smith
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226728032.003.0023

When caring for socially-housed animals such as chimpanzees, zoos carefully plan group compositions, and assess the need for animal transfers, to maintain genetic diversity of captive populations and provide naturalistic groups. Introducing chimpanzees to new social groups can be difficult, with little empirical evidence to guide the process. This chapter presents a case study to illustrate the intricacies of the process and evaluate the usefulness of video footage and personality ratings to aid the process. It was tested whether personality measures and behaviors observed during video introductions and a visual-access period predicted the outcomes of social introductions between two chimpanzee social groups. Chimpanzees’ high scores on the personality trait Dominance predicted aggression (to all others, outgroup individuals, and males); high Conscientiousness predicted neutral interactions (when meeting males, higher ranked individuals, and both in-group and out-group individuals); but personality ratings did not predict affiliative outcomes. Affiliative or aggressive behavioral responses to video footage did not predict congruently-valenced responses during physical introductions. Behavioral responses during the visual access period also did not predict any affiliative, aggressive, or neutral outcomes. This case study suggests that personality measures, with continued refinement, have considerable potential as a tool in captive animal management.

Keywords:   chimpanzee, zoo, introductions, animal management, personality, video, sociality, dominance, behavior, animal welfare

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