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Title: Nesting and nighttime behaviours of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
Author: Lock, L. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 4106
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2011
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Studies of nesting behaviours of free-ranging apes typically focus on ecological variables such as preferred tree species and areas within the home range, heights of nests, and nest group sizes. However, nesting in captive apes is rarely studied, despite the ubiquity of this sleep-related behaviour. The paucity of field data is often attributed to the inherent difficulty in observing what is essentially a nighttime behaviour. Captive settings can provide researchers with an ideal opportunity to record nesting and sleep-related behaviours, yet such research on captive apes is also scant. Topics addressed include current practices in zoos regarding conditions for sleep in great apes, the potential effects of social and environmental factors on sleep site selection, the motor patterns involved in nest construction, preferred nesting structures and substrates, and nocturnal behaviours. This thesis documented and empirically tested hypotheses concerning nest-related activities in captive chimpanzees, with an aim to generate practical recommendations for enclosure design, sleeping areas, sleeping structures, and nesting substrates that have implications for the welfare of captive apes. As with the few reports that already exist, most chimpanzees in this research frequently constructed night nests. When building a nest, some techniques appeared to be universal across individuals and groups, where others were group-specific or occasionally characteristic of only certain individuals. An experiment showed that specific materials are preferred over others for nest building. Many chimpanzees appeared to express persistent preferences for particular sleeping sites, and for some this was to maintain proximity to kin or other closely bonded individuals. In one group, individual sleeping site preferences changed across seasons, although again this was subject to individual differences. Video analyses of nighttime behaviours demonstrated that, although nests/sleep sites are primarily used for rest subsequent to retirement, a number of social and non-social activities were performed throughout the night. In conjunction with analysis of postural and orientation shifts, these data are unique in describing the nocturnal behaviours of chimpanzees out with a laboratory setting. Several aspects of nest-related behaviours showed a high degree of inter-and intra-group variation. Although this cautions against generalising findings across captive populations, research of this type has applied implications for the management of captive ape species, and can add to our as-yet meagre understanding of their nest and sleep-related behaviours.
Supervisor: Anderson, James R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: chimpanzee ; nesting ; nighttime behaviour ; welfare ; Chimpanzees Behavior