CZAAWE Resource Article

Controllability in Environmental Enrichment for Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
This study considers the use of nonsocial environmental enrichment by captive chimpanzees at the Primate Foundation of Arizona. The goal was to determine whether a relationship existed between controllability of enrichment items by captive chimpanzees and frequency of use. The study measured controllability, the ability of nonhuman animals to alter aspects of their environment by the potential destructibility of the enrichment item. This study examined additional factors that may affect enrichment use: individual age, sex, rearing history, social group composition, and availability of outdoor access. The chimpanzees in the study used destructible items--the enrichment category with the highest level of controllability--more than indestructible items across all age, sex, and rearing classes. Thus, controllability seems to be an important factor in chimpanzee enrichment. Younger individuals and groups with outdoor access used enrichment more than did older individuals and groups with indoor-only access. Individual sex, rearing history, and social group composition had minimal effects on enrichment use. These results support the importance of control to captive chimpanzees and further enable captive management to customize enrichment programs to the needs of particular animals.