CZAAWE Resource Article

Human-Animal Relationships: The Use of Species-Typical Food Calls and Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Names: Welfare-Oriented Tools to Manage Sanctuary Chimpanzees
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2015
Publication/Journal 
Animal Behavior and Cognition
Abstract 
In captivity, positive human-animal interactions are often part of daily management procedures, which can enhance the welfare of animals and help caregivers with routine husbandry tasks. For example, the provisioning of food (produce or enrichment) can be an effective tool to reward animals for positive behavior. Another option is to use species-typical behavior to request an action on the part of the animal. In both captive and wild settings, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) use a variety of food vocalizations to announce the presence of different food sources. In this study, we examined how species-typical vocalizations (chimpanzee-based food calls, CBFCs) compared to human vocalizations (name-calling and encouragement, NCE) in relation to the shifting behavior of sanctuary chimpanzees at Chimp Haven, Inc., during routine husbandry tasks. Both CBFCs and NCE were associated with the provisioning of enrichment or produce, and observations were balanced for time of day. We found that CBFCs were slightly more effective in shifting of the chimpanzees when it was used along with the provisioning of enrichment (n = 22, p = 0.017). We also found that the chimpanzees were more likely to shift in the morning rather than in the afternoon (n = 34, p = 0.012). These results suggest that predictable schedules and the use of positive communication, whether it is in the form of a species-typical food call or the calling of a chimpanzee’s name and general positive encouragement, assisted in the daily management of chimpanzees housed in a sanctuary setting.