Action: Primates: Present feeds at different crowd levels
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- One before-and-after study in the USA found that when smaller crowds were present foraging and object use in chimpanzees increased.
Crowd levels within zoos vary. At some zoos crowds could consist of up to hundreds of people at an enclosure at any one time. This can affect the behaviour of captive primates. The aim of presenting feeds at different crowd levels is to see when is best (high or low crowd levels) to give food to increase foraging time.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in 1993 at Los Angeles, USA (Wood 1998) found that foraging time and object use among chimpanzees Pan troglodytes presented with new food and environmental enrichment was greater with small viewing crowds than with large ones. Foraging increased from 0% of the overall time observed with old enrichment and low crowd levels to 29% when there were high crowd levels and new enrichment and up to 33% when new enrichment was given with low crowds. Object use was increased from 3% with low crowds and old enrichment to 4% and 5% when new enrichment was given with high crowds and low crowd levels respectively. Researchers filmed the group of chimpanzees for three hours between 12:00 h and 15:00 h with one of four treatments each day: large crowd, new enrichment; large crowd, old enrichment; small crowd, new enrichment; small crowd, old enrichment and low crowd, no enrichment. The group of 11 chimpanzees were given access to the enrichment, browse, ice blocks and stuffed sacks at 12:00 h. Repeated observations were made over five weeks. Scan sampling methods were used to record the behaviour of each chimpanzee every 60 seconds. (CJ)