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A note on enrichment for spontaneous tool use by chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes )

By N. Morimura

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In the wild, decisions as to "when", "where", and "how" an animal acts are made based on the individual's own choice; in contrast, the behaviour of wild animals in captivity may be under human control. To improve the physical and psychological well-being of captive animals, we should ensure that animals act on their own will, by ascertaining the voluntary nature of their behaviour. So far, most feeding enrichments permit an animal to use only one type of processing for each food item. This study was designed to permit voluntary tool-using behaviour by chimpanzees. Tube feeders from which chimpanzees could access orange juice using either tools or their hands were presented. Results showed that chimpanzees opted to use tools to access the juice in the feeders, even though the use of the mouth and the hands to obtain juice continued to occur intermittently until the end of the task. This finding demonstrated that when chimpanzees have the option to access juice through a variety of methods, they employ all available choices. It also supported the hypothesis that the behaviour of captive chimpanzees may come to resemble that of their wild counterparts as a function of behavioural freedom.

Date 2003
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 82
Issue 3
Pages 241-247
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(03)00058-3
Language English
Author Address Hayashibara Biomedical Laboratories Inc., Great Ape Research Institute, Nu 952-2, Tamano, Okayama 706-0316, Japan.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Asia
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Chimpanzees
  7. Developed countries
  8. Enrichment
  9. Great ape
  10. Japan
  11. Laboratory and experimental animals
  12. Laboratory animal science
  13. Mammals
  14. OECD countries
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Primates
  1. peer-reviewed