Fultz, A., Brent, L., Loeser, E. 2010. Abnormal behaviors in sanctuary chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology 72(S1), 28-29. (33rd Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #10)
Chimp Haven has retired 153 chimpanzees, the majority from biomedical research, and abnormal behavior patterns have been reported. Abnormal behaviors are well described in chimpanzees and usually related to early rearing environment, social isolation and sometimes social learning. Data analyzed in this project include records of varying detail from the sending institutions, abnormal behavior reports by Chimp Haven animal care staff, daily logs for recurring behaviors and focal animal observations for severe abnormal behavior. In the past five years, thirty two chimpanzees [M=17, F=15], age range 8–49 years old [mean=30.29], have been reported by animal care staff to have abnormal behavior. Staff was more likely to report serious and/or obvious behaviors: self-aggressive [N=12], fecesrelated [N=6], self-directed [N=6], rocking [N=3], and other miscellaneous abnormal behaviors [N=6]. Captive born chimpanzees had a higher incidence of abnormal behavior [69%, N=23] than wild born [24%, N=8]. Eighteen chimpanzees had been reported to exhibit the same abnormal behavior prior to their arrival at Chimp Haven. For repeated abnormal behaviors, the average time until the first abnormal behavior report was 148 days [range 1–728 days]. Extensive observation and intervention was completed on 8 chimpanzees exhibiting self-aggressive behavior. Our analysis supports past findings that abnormal behaviors may occur in highly enriched, expansive and social environments as they are ingrained, resistant to intervention, and may be self-reinforcing.