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Mothering and Play

Dr. Jane Goodall has discovered most of the important information about the behavior of wild chimpanzees. Dr. Goodall's study began in 1960 and continues at Gombe National Park in Tanzania today. She has had the opportunity to watch several generations of chimpanzee mothers and their babies and has learned that patience and attentive care are an important part of mothering.

Mothers allow their daughters to help with younger brother and sisters. No matter how "rambunctious" the child, mother is always near to lend a helping hand - and an older brother or sister often accompanies her.

Chimpanzee children learn the same way human children learn. They observe the behavior of those around them and try to duplicate it. They also learn by doing things for themselves through observation trial and error.

 

Captive Chimpanzees

Observing chimpanzee mothers and their infants in a zoo setting allows us to closely observe different mothering techniques. The first thing you notice about chimpanzee mothers is their extraordinary patience. Young chimpanzees, like human children, just seem to love to try their mother's patience. If you watch mother-infant pairs long enough, you will usually discover one infant that has pushed its mother too far - and receives a slight swat from her long, large hand for its efforts.

When zoo chimpanzee mothers abuse or neglect their infants, they are removed from their care and raised by the zoo staff. Raising an infant chimpanzee is very difficult for humans. Hand-rearing a chimpanzee infant morally requires us to teach them (as best we can) the things they will need to know as socially adept adults. Therefore, we must show them and give them opportunities to act like a chimpanzee! We have to teach them to hang on to their surrogate mother for travel and comfort, communicate with them using the appropriate chimpanzee sounds and gestures, allow them exposure to mother-reared chimpanzees to observe and attempt to interact socially. This learning process is critical to their development and ability to take their place in their social group.


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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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