Physiological and welfare consequences of transport, relocation, and acclimatization of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Steven J. Schapiro, Susan P. Lambeth, Kirsten Rosenmaj Jacobsen, Lawrence E. Williams, Bharti N. Nehete, Pramod N. Nehete
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
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Manipulations of the environments of captive nonhuman primates often have welfare consequences to the animals, including behavioral effects, and for certain manipulations, physiological effects as well. The processes of transporting, relocating, and acclimatizing nonhuman primates across facilities represent manipulations that are likely to have wel-fare, behavioral, and physiological consequences to the relocated animals. Seventy-two chimpanzees were relocated from the Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA) in Arizona to the Keeling Center (KCCMR) in Texas. Animals were transported for approximately 21 h in single cages in a USDA approved, climate-controlled trailer. Chimpanzees were weighed, anesthetized, and blood samples were collected (1) immediately prior to departure from PFA, (2) immediately upon arrival at the KCCMR, and (3) at additional time point(s) between 3 and 12 weeks after arrival at the KCCMR. Chimpanzees were quarantined in familiar pairs or social groups for 60–90 days at the KCCMR. Blood samples were analyzed for hematologi-cal and clinical chemistry parameters and compared across time points. In addition, samples from a subset of animals were assayed for cell-mediated immune parameters. Comparisons of the data obtained just prior to transport, to the data obtained immediately upon arrival, revealed numerous statistically significant differences in hematological, clinical chemistry, and immunological parameters. Some of these were indicative of stress, and thus, changes in welfare state, although many remained within the published normal ranges for chim-panzees. Additional analyses showed that many of the clinical chemistry values collected 3–12 weeks after arrival at the KCCMR had returned to pre-transport values. In contrast, of the cell-mediated immune parameters that were affected by transport and relocation, few had returned to pre-transport levels 8 weeks after transport, and three of the four hematology variables analyzed had not returned to pre-transport levels 12 weeks after
transport. Comparisons of body weights before and immediately after transport revealed that animals lost an average of 2.5 kg during the 21-h transport, a statistically significant reduction that some animals never regained. These results demonstrate that transport and
relocation affect a variety of physiological parameters with potential welfare implications and that some of these effects last as long as 3 months. These findings have important implications for the welfare and use of recently transported nonhuman primates, espe-cially chimpanzees, in biomedical research. In order to allow animals to adapt to their new surroundings and to prevent unwanted confounds from influencing experiments, sufficient time must be provided after transport for chimpanzees to acclimatize.


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