, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 477-481
Date: 02 May 2007

Hunting and Occasional Consumption of Prey Items by Chimpanzees at the Primate Foundation of Arizona

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Abstract

Researchers have documented hunting by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) for >30 yr. However, no one had reported the behavior in captive chimpanzees. The Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA) is a biomedical research facility, and though every effort is made to ensure that rodents and other indigenous animals do not enter cages, an occasional small mammal or bird enters the outside cage area. We document 18 known successful hunts over 2.5 yr by ≥8 captive chimpanzees housed at PFA. The most common prey were rock squirrels (Cittallus variegatus; n = 8) and birds (n = 7). The most common killing method was a bite to the head (n = 9), indicating that the deaths were deliberate and not accidental. Two adult males, 1 wild- and 1 captive-born, together accounted for 11 of the 18 hunting episodes. The chimpanzees generally captured and killed the prey in their outdoor enclosures. The results have implications for the surveillance of outdoor areas in other facilities and the potential for disease or introduction of parasitic vectors, and are also an interesting comparison to wild chimpanzee behavior.