Neal Webb, S. J., Hau, J., Schapiro, S. J. 2018. Captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) behavior as a function of space per animal and enclosure type. American Journal of Primatology 80(2), e22749.
Space per animal, or animal density, and enclosure type are important elements of functionally appropriate captive environments (FACEs) for chimpanzees. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that captive chimpanzees be maintained in areas of >250 ft2/animal. Several studies have investigated chimpanzee behavior in relation to space per animal, but only two studies have examined these variables while attempting to hold environmental complexity constant. Both have found few, if any, significant differences in behavior associated with increased space per animal. The NIH does not provide recommendations pertaining to enclosure type. Although Primadomes™ and corrals are considered acceptable FACE housing, no studies have investigated chimpanzee behavior in relation to these two common types of enclosures. We examined the NIH space per animal recommendation, and the effects of enclosure type, while maintaining similar levels of environmental complexity. We used focal animal observations to record the behavior of 22 chimpanzees in three social groups following within‐facility housing transfers. Chimpanzees that were moved from an area with space below the NIH recommendation to the same type of enclosure with space above the recommendation (dome to double dome) exhibited significantly more locomotion and behavioral diversity post‐transfer. Chimpanzees that were moved from an area with space below the recommendation to a different type of enclosure with space above the recommendation (dome to corral) exhibited significant increases in foraging and behavioral diversity, and a decrease in rough scratching. Lastly, chimpanzees that were moved from an area above the recommendation to a different enclosure type with space equal to the recommendation (corral to double dome) exhibited an increase in behavioral diversity. These results add to the body of literature that addresses the concept of specific minimum space requirements per chimpanzee, and highlight the need for more empirical investigation of the relationship between space per chimpanzee, behavior, and welfare.