Exploring the relationship between personality and social interactions in zoo-housed elephants: Incorporation of keeper expertise

Individual animal personalities affect experiences of zoo environments, and thus potentially welfare. Incorporating keeper knowledge of animal personality in a reliable way has great value in optimising welfare in zoo-housed animals. Assessment of animal personality has been used to predict group compatibility and social relationships in a number of species including rhinoceros, gorilla and chimpanzees, […]

Social Interactions in Zoo-Housed Elephants: Factors Affecting Social Relationships

Elephants have complex social systems that are predominantly driven by ecological factors in situ. Within zoos, elephants are held in relatively static social groups and the factors observed driving social relationships in the wild are largely absent. Little research has investigated the effect of social group factors in zoos on elephant social interactions. The aim […]

Sociable schedules: interplay between avian seasonal and social behaviour

Timing is essential in seasonally changing habitats. Survival and reproduction are enhanced through precise adjustment to environmental conditions. Avian seasonal behaviour, that is, diverse activities associated with reproduction, moult and migration, has an endogenous basis and is ultimately linked to changes in environmental factors such as food supply. However, behaviour occurs in social contexts, and […]

Grouping and social preferences in calves, heifers and cows

In order to improve animal welfare, a growing number of calves, heifers and dairy cows are reared in loose housing systems. However, (re)grouping unfamiliar animals may result in aggressive interactions and distress, especially for low ranked animals. Grouping of unfamiliar animals is found to increase aggression, social stress, locomotion behaviour and to have negative effects […]

The ties that bind: Genetic relatedness predicts the fission and fusion of social groups in wild African elephants

Many social animals live in stable groups. In contrast, African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) live in unusually fluid, fission–fusion societies. That is, ‘core’ social groups are composed of predictable sets of individuals; however, over the course of hours or days, these groups may temporarily divide and reunite, or they may fuse with other social groups […]

Elephant cognition

No abstract: Topics include “Why study elephant cognition?”, “What do we know about elephant society?”, “Clues to an advanced intelligence?”, and “How has elephant cognition been studied?”

Where sociality and relatedness diverge: the genetic basis for hierarchical social organization in African elephants

Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission–fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis […]

Male chimpanzees form enduring and equitable social bonds

Controversy exists regarding the nature of primate social relationships. While individual primates are frequently hypothesized to form enduring social bonds with conspecifics, recent studies suggest that relationships are labile, with animals interacting only over short periods to satisfy their immediate needs. Here I use data collected over 10 years on a community of chimpanzees, Pan […]

Behavioral ecology of western gorillas: New insights from the field

The papers in this issue are from a conference held in May 2002 at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. This conference brought together researchers from all current western gorilla sites for the first time with the aim of synthesizing the most current information available on western gorilla behavioral ecology. Our […]

Group differences in captive gorillas’ reaction to large crowds

The impact of visitor crowd size on captive animal behaviour can be difficult to interpret in many institutions due to the lack of variation in crowd size over short periods of time. In attempts to compare greater variation in crowd size, animal behaviour is often compared over conditions that create additional confounds, such as day […]