Utilization of space by adult and juvenile groups of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)



A systematic analysis of space utilization in the home enclosures of four adult and three juvenile social groups of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) was conducted at the Primate Foundation of Arizona. The locations of all members of each group (excluding nursing infants) were recorded several times per week over a 3-month period. Adult chimpanzees were observed significantly more often in small vs large cages, on upper vs lower levels, and near cage perimeters vs cage centers. Analyses of sex differences in adults revealed that adult females are largely responsible for these space use patterns; adult males show only a significantly higher usage of perimeter areas. Individual differences were found in the habitual use of certain enclosure sites. Juveniles show no spatial patterns with regard to the above parameters but appear to evenly use all available space. Both adults and juveniles were observed to be in contact with mesh barriers more often than with solid walls. These findings suggest important elements that should be incorporated into the caging design of captive chimpanzee facilities.