Funkhouser, J. A., Mayhew, J. A., Mulcahy, J. B. 2018. Social network and dominance hierarchy analyses at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. PLOS ONE 13(2), e0191898.
Different aspects of sociality bear considerable weight on the individual- and group-level welfare of captive nonhuman primates. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a useful tool for gaining a holistic understanding of the dynamic social relationships of captive primate groups. Gaining a greater understanding of captive chimpanzees through investigations of centrality, preferred and avoided relationships, dominance hierarchy, and social network diagrams can be useful in advising current management practices in sanctuaries and other captive settings. In this study, we investigated the dyadic social relationships, group-level social networks, and dominance hierarchy of seven chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. We used focal-animal and instantaneous scan sampling to collect 106.75 total hours of associative, affiliative, and agonistic data from June to September 2016. We analyzed our data using SOCPROG to derive dominance hierarchies and network statistics, and we diagrammed the group’s social networks in NetDraw. Three individuals were most central in the grooming network, while two others had little connection. Through agonistic networks, we found that group members reciprocally exhibited agonism, and the group’s dominance hierarchy was statistically non-linear. One chimpanzee emerged as the most dominant through agonism but was least connected to other group members across affiliative networks. Our results indicate that the conventional methods used to calculate individuals’ dominance rank may be inadequate to wholly depict a group’s social relationships in captive sanctuary populations. Our results have an applied component that can aid sanctuary staff in a variety of ways to best ensure the improvement of group welfare.