Primates are at times used as performers in circuses, advertisements, films, and as pets. Most of these animals are socially isolated from their peers. They exhibit behavioral problems and lack important skills for living in a group environment. One of the main challenges primate rescue centers face is creating groups to socialize rescued individuals and promote the development of species-typical behaviors. We monitored a group of 15 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) housed at Fundació Mona, a primate rescue and rehabilitation centre, for 8 yr. The aim of the study was to study the rehabilitation process and to establish variables that may influence the behavioral recovery of the chimpanzees. We used scan sampling to assess behavior and two welfare indices over the study period. Our results show that both desirable behaviors and welfare indices increased over time, while nondesirable behaviors decreased. We found no differences between pet and performer chimpanzees, but captive-born subjects recovered better than wild-born. We also established that chimpanzees that were younger at the onset of rehabilitation reached higher levels of social and behavioral competence than those that were older. We conclude that both social group housing and opportunities for the development of species-typical behaviors have a positive effect on the welfare and rehabilitation of performer and pet chimpanzees, but that their previous history influences rehabilitation.
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This research has been funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (HAR2009-07223/HIST), Ministerio de Economía y Competividad (HAR2012-32548), Generalitat de Catalunya (2009 SGR-188; 2014 SGR-899), Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/PSI-PCO/104170/2008), and Universitat Rovira i Virgili (2009AIRE-05; 2005ACCES-13). The authors thank all the students and researchers who participated in the behavioral observations. The authors also thank the keepers and the volunteer staff involved in the care of the chimpanzees. Miquel Llorente benefited from a research grant from the IPHES between 2006 and 2009 and David Riba’s research was funded by the Fundación Atapuerca between 2010 and 2013. We wish to acknowledge the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Universitat Ramon Llull, and Ms. Birgit Harms for their contributions to funding some of the research material. Our thanks as well to Charles Duke, Lara Rodríguez-Escalada, Lorna Scott, and Oluwafunmilayo Folashade for the English language revision of the various versions of this article. The manuscript was greatly improved thanks to the thoughtful feedback provided by Signe Preuschoft, the journal editor-in-chief, and two anonymous reviewers.
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Llorente, M., Riba, D., Ballesta, S. et al. Rehabilitation and Socialization of Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Used for Entertainment and as Pets: An 8-Year Study at Fundació Mona. Int J Primatol 36, 605–624 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-015-9842-4