Javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus) naturally form social groups containing typically only one adult male. However, this social system is problematic with regard to captive management, as it can lead to the production of surplus males. The study assessed if castration is a feasible strategy to allow social housing of male surplus individuals in bachelor pairs and mixed-sex groups. Behavioural data were collected during a 7-week study for a total of 173h in Howletts & Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks (UK). Males in three bachelor pairs, as well as males in four mixed-sex groups were observed. With the exception of one bachelor pair of intact males, and one-mixed sex group containing only castrated males, the study groups included a single intact male, with the remaining males being castrated. In bachelor pairs, males compensated for a lack of other social partners by an increase in affiliative male–male interactions. In mixed-sex groups, the presence of females did not lead to an increase in agonistic male–male interactions. However, males gave preference to females over males as social partners. In general, castrated males displayed more submissive, while intact males displayed more dominance behaviours, indicating that castration affects the social status in Javan langurs. The results of the study suggest that castration can be used as a managerial tool to allow surplus males to remain as subordinate follower males in bachelor pairs as well as mixed-sex groups to provide socialisation and companionship.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
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