Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) birth patterns and human presence in zoological settings

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Abstract

In response to work demonstrating a negative correlation between human staff activity and parturition in laboratory-managed primates, this study examined the distribution of 231 captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) births that occurred in accredited American zoological institutions by the day of the week on which the birth was discovered. We hypothesized that if chimpanzee parturition patterns displayed sensitivity to human presence, then fewer births per day would be reported during the weekend period, when the visitor density was high, as compared with the lower density working week. Analyses indicated that chimpanzee births were randomly distributed throughout the week. In the context of the questionable sensitivity of primate parturition to external influence, results suggest that variations in human presence do not affect the fine-level timing of birth in chimpanzees managed in a zoological setting. Am. J. Primatol. 70:703–706, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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