CZAAWE Resource Article

Functions and social consequences of infant–adult male interaction in a captive group of lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430080204.abs The functions and social consequences of infant-adult male interaction in a captive group of lowland gorillas were evaluated. The two males repeatedly attempted to interact with the infant, the infant sometimes attempted to interact with the males, and the mother usually interrupted interactions between male and infant. Infant-directed actions by the two males frequently showed their interest in the infant and infrequently showed care giving toward her; their other infant-directed actions occurred near the time of excitement or of playful actions between adults. Male-directed actions by the infant frequently showed its interest in one male and infrequently showed care seeking from him. All infant-adult male interactions but one occurred in the less stimulating of the gorillas' two enclosures. Boredom and the mother's frequent thwarting of contact between a male and infant are suggested as influences on the males' interest in the infant. The data suggest that availability of interesting objects alleviated the boredom of captivity for males and thus dissuaded them from seeking stimulation which sometimes resulted in harmful behaviors toward the infant.