Integration of a hand-reared chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) infant into a social group of conspecifics

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Integration of a hand-reared chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) infant into a social group of conspecifics. / Thunström, Maria; Persson, Tomas; Björklund, Mats.

In: Primates, Vol. 54, No. 1, 2013, p. 13-19.

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T1 - Integration of a hand-reared chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) infant into a social group of conspecifics

AU - Thunström, Maria

AU - Persson, Tomas

AU - Björklund, Mats

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Abstract in UndeterminedRejections of infants among non-human primates occasionally occur in the wild as well as in captive settings. Controlled adoptions of orphans and introductions of individuals into new groups are therefore sometimes necessary in captivity. Consequently, behavioral research on integration procedures and on the acceptance of infants by adoptive mothers is much needed. In this study, the introduction and subsequent adoption were examined in an 18-month-old hand-reared chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). The infant was introduced into an age/sex-diversified social group of conspecifics at Furuvik Zoo, Gavle, Sweden, and continuous focal data was collected during the final stage of integration, including infant care exhibited by the group members and the infant's secure base behavior. The infant was successfully integrated into the group and engaged in positive social interactions with all group members. An adult primiparous female chimpanzee formed a bond resembling a mother-infant relationship with the infant, which continues to be maintained at publication. However, the female initially showed very limited interest in the infant. It was, in fact, two other younger female group members that exhibited most infant care. The infant's secure base behavior patterns indicate that she adapted well to the new circumstances in the chimpanzee group as the integration progressed. This provides evidence that a final adopter does not necessarily initially show maternal interest and that there can be flexibility in maternal behavior in adult chimpanzee females. Moreover, the methods applied employing gradual familiarization with all the group members and the use of an integration enclosure, may have contributed to a successful result. These findings extend our knowledge of introduction procedures in captivity as well as provide information on foster mother-infant attachment in chimpanzees.

AB - Abstract in UndeterminedRejections of infants among non-human primates occasionally occur in the wild as well as in captive settings. Controlled adoptions of orphans and introductions of individuals into new groups are therefore sometimes necessary in captivity. Consequently, behavioral research on integration procedures and on the acceptance of infants by adoptive mothers is much needed. In this study, the introduction and subsequent adoption were examined in an 18-month-old hand-reared chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). The infant was introduced into an age/sex-diversified social group of conspecifics at Furuvik Zoo, Gavle, Sweden, and continuous focal data was collected during the final stage of integration, including infant care exhibited by the group members and the infant's secure base behavior. The infant was successfully integrated into the group and engaged in positive social interactions with all group members. An adult primiparous female chimpanzee formed a bond resembling a mother-infant relationship with the infant, which continues to be maintained at publication. However, the female initially showed very limited interest in the infant. It was, in fact, two other younger female group members that exhibited most infant care. The infant's secure base behavior patterns indicate that she adapted well to the new circumstances in the chimpanzee group as the integration progressed. This provides evidence that a final adopter does not necessarily initially show maternal interest and that there can be flexibility in maternal behavior in adult chimpanzee females. Moreover, the methods applied employing gradual familiarization with all the group members and the use of an integration enclosure, may have contributed to a successful result. These findings extend our knowledge of introduction procedures in captivity as well as provide information on foster mother-infant attachment in chimpanzees.

KW - Integration

KW - Adoption

KW - Pan troglodytes

KW - Captive management

KW - Caregiving behavior

KW - Secure base

U2 - 10.1007/s10329-012-0319-1

DO - 10.1007/s10329-012-0319-1

M3 - Article

VL - 54

SP - 13

EP - 19

JO - Primates

JF - Primates

SN - 0032-8332

IS - 1

ER -