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Contact

Contact is an essential element in chimpanzee behavior. It plays an important part in social situations whether the chimpanzee is excited, afraid, playing or relaxing. A pat, embrace or kiss relieves the fears and frustrations of a crying infant, lessens tension of adults involved in a dispute, and reassures cringing anxious subordinates when threatened by an aroused and aggressive high ranking chimpanzee.

Chimpanzee social and familial bonds are strengthened through long-term associations. Mothers and daughters spend a great deal of time together and often share care-giving responsibilities for infants and children. Sons grow away from their mothers as they mature but often return to visit with her, as they grow older. They have been known to intervene in disputes on her behalf, and protect her other offspring.

Social by nature, chimpanzees require the company of other chimpanzees for psychological well-being. They gather in large groups to share food, relax, and watch the children play. They spend many hours cementing their relationships grooming debris from hair. Touching is truly one of the most important behaviors of chimpanzees as it is with humans.

 

Captive Chimpanzees

Contact whether by touch or physical presence is an essential part of primate behavior. Captive chimpanzees suffer mental deprivation and poor health when housed singly. Infants raised in isolation from other chimpanzees do not develop important social skills or understand the social behavior of other chimpanzees. Infants deprived of contact comfort and a role model to observe normal behavior develop one or more aberrant behaviors. These behaviors or stereotopies are compulsive and repetitive behaviors such as, rocking, coprophagy, head jerks, pacing, hair plucking, etc. It has been suggested that socially and environmentally deprived chimpanzees use repetitive behavior to console themselves.

 

Captive Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees in zoos have a variety of objects to incorporate into their dominance displays to create an illusion of greater size and strength. A zoo chimpanzee can create a grand spectacle for the captivated viewing public by making use of swinging ropes, enrichment objects found in the enclosure such as bags, balls and boxes and the high beams, towers and multi-levels of a modern exhibit to intensify the power of his display. Excited chimpanzees slap, stomp or jump on large glass viewing windows that separate them from a fascinated public. Often the displaying chimpanzee runs wildly down a man-made hill or around the enclosure while banging and kicking on walls and objects to the thrill of the viewing crowd. This noisy fuss known as a display, usually ends in a peaceful resolution like those of their wild cousins.


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Chimpanzee Learning Cards

A.

ChimpanZoo Learning Cards
1.
Origins and Habitat of Chimpanzees

2.

Chimpanzee Social Groups
3.
Chimpanzees Living in Zoos
4.
Infancy and Childhood
5.
Chimpanzee Adolescence and Gender Specific Roles
6.
The Importance of Mothering
7.
Mothering and Play
8.
Play
9.
Depression
10.
Dominance Displays
11.
Submission
12.
Contact
13.
Grooming
14.
Food
15.
Territorial Behavior
16.
Chimpanzees Are a Lot Like Us
17.
Communication
18.
Chimpanzees Are Individuals
19.
Mike's Ingenious Idea
20.
Mike (1938-1975)
21.
Mike the Alpha Male
22.
The Human Threat to Wild Chimpanzees
23.
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
24.
The Jane Goodall Institute
25. Books by Jane Goodall
26. Bibliography

 

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