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A brief note on the effects of novel enrichment on an unwanted behaviour of captive bonobos

By A. Csatadi, K. Leus, J. J. M. Pereboom

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Animals in captivity may show undesirable behaviour when they are not sufficiently challenged, making it essential for their well-being to provide daily enrichment to zoo animals. Primates need a regular replacement with novel enrichment objects to prevent them from getting bored and look for challenging situations which might be even more undesirable. A socially housed group of bonobos showed behavioural problems such as stealing and rough handling and playing with a newborn infant in the group. To study whether providing novel environmental enrichment has an effect on this phenomenon we performed an experiment where we observed the change in behaviour in the presence of familiar and novel enrichment devices. When provided with novel enrichments, the general activity of the group increased. Simultaneously, these novel behavioural challenges significantly decreased the frequency of taking the newborn infant from its mother. Our results confirm previous findings that continuous application of new enrichments is necessary for providing sensory stimulation to primates as it promotes their well-being and indirectly might influence breeding success as well.

Date 2008
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 112
Issue 1/2
Pages 201-204
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2007.09.001
Author Address Department of Ethology, Eotvos University, Pazmany P. s. 1/c., 1117 Budapest,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Chimpanzees
  5. Environment
  6. Great ape
  7. Mammals
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Primates
  1. peer-reviewed