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Destructible Toys as Enrichment for Captive Chimpanzees

By Linda Brent, Adam Stone

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The use of destructible objects or toys as enrichment for nonhuman primates has had promising results in terms of increased use and positive behavioral effect. The purpose of this project was to determine the use and durability of a number of inexpensive, destructible toys provided one at a time or several at once. Nine singly caged chimpanzees were provided with 8 different toys made of plastic, vinyl, or cloth, and the frequency of use of the toys was determined during 15 min trials 2 times per day. A toy was removed when it was destroyed or when it was not contacted during 4 trials. The chimpanzees contacted the toys an average of 11 times per trial, and the use of the individual toys was significantly higher when provided 1 at a time rather than all at once. Use of the toys was fairly stable over time, and the toys remained in the cages an average of 3.2 days. The durability of the toys was related to the type of toy (e,g., more flexible cloth and vinyl toys lasted longer than rigid plastic toys). The destructible toys were used significantly more often than other permanent cage toys or televisions. Toy use was not related to age, level of abnormal behavior, or use of existing permanent toys or television. The implications of the results were related to the management of an environmental enrichment program and indicated that the provision of flexible, inexpensive toys 1 at a time can be an effective method of enrichment for captive chimpanzees. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science is the property of Taylor & Francis Ltd and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 5-14
ISBN/ISSN 10888705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/s15327604jaws0101_2
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Chimpanzees
  3. Enrichment
  4. peer-reviewed
  5. toys
  1. peer-reviewed