Dyadic interactions of infant lowland gorillas in an outdoor exhibit compared to an indoor holding area

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Michael P. Hoff, Debra L. Forthman, Terry L. Maple
Zoo Biology
A Wiley Company, Inc., Wiley Subscription Services
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Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430130306.abs The behavior of two lowland gorilla mother-infant pairs living in a social group at Zoo Atlanta was compared in an indoor holding area vs. an outdoor exhibit. Focal animal data were collected for each pair during 30-min observation sessions over 24 days, alternating between indoors and outdoors. A variety of individual and social behaviors differed in the two conditions, particularly infant behaviors and infant-controlled behaviors. Mothers and infants spent more time closer together inside than outside, and infants left mothers more and mothers approached infants more outside than inside. Additional differences included more object examination and solitary play by the infants, and more feeding by the mothers, outside. Mothers autogroomed more and infants engaged in more self-manipulation inside. Additionally, there were significantly more aggressive display behaviors directed toward the mother-infant pairs inside than outside, and the adults engaged in coprophagy inside but not outside. A variety of other behaviors measured did not change between the two environments. There was a clear effect on behavior of the different housing conditions in which the gorillas were kept. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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