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Personality as a Predictor of Social Status and Stress During Resocialisation of Former Laboratory Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Abstract
Medical research using live primates, especially chimpanzees, becomes less and less accepted by western societies and several research facilities world wide plan to permanently retire their primates in a species appropriate way. A population of 44 chimpanzees, which were wild caught and imported to Austria at ages between 1 and 4 years have been used in pharmaceutical research by the company ¿Immuno¿ (Orth/Donau, Austria). The new owner, Baxter laboratories, transferred these primates to HopE (Home of primates Europe) at Safaripark Gänserndorf in autumn and winter 2002. HopE is now responsible for the care of these animals and HopE is the first project world wide to re-socialise and permanently retire chimpanzees who served as subjects for pharmaceutical research.
This project is studying 16 male chimpanzees, who were housed in individual cages for about 20 years, on their way from the laboratory to social life in a zoo, and thus makes use of a unique opportunity to quantitatively assess the stress encountered by different individuals during this process. The stress level in different individuals will depend on their personalities, their social skills, and their success in developing relationships with conspecifics. The socially deprived subjects will be introduced into an all male group. In addition to behavioural indicators of stress, physiological data (cortisol, testosterone levels) will be collected by non-invasive means of faecal steroid analysis.
The overall objective of this project is to explore the influence of personality on social rank and coping abilities and to investigate the effects of these components on endocrinology in a newly formed male chimpanzee group. Results will provide new information about group formation and stimulate ideas regarding care, rehabilitation management and welfare of chimpanzees in captivity.
Project leader
Schwarzenberger Franz
Duration
01.09.02-31.12.06
Type of Research
Applied research
Vetmed Research Units
Institute for Medical Biochemistry
Funded by
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Wien, Austria
7 Publications

Reimers, M; Schwarzenberger, F; Preuschoft, S (2004): Personality as a predictor for stress susceptibility during resocialisation of former laboratory chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Folia Primatol 2004; 75: 324-325.

Reimers, M; Schwarzenberger, F; Preuschoft, S (2007): Rehabilitation of research chimpanzees: stress and coping after long-term isolation. Horm Behav. 2007; 51(3):428-435

Reimers, M (2005): Resozialisierung von ehemaligen Laborschimpansen (Pan troglodytes). Dissertation, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 83.

Reimers, M; Schwarzenberger, F; Preuschoft, S (2004): Personality as a predictor of dominance status and stress during resocialisationof former laboratory chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV), Ebeltoft, Denmark, 19. - 23.05.2004. European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV), Ebeltoft, Denmark, 19. - 23.05.2004.

Reimers, M; Schwarzenberger, F (2003): Besser Leben will gelernt sein: Resozialisierung ehemaliger Laborchimpansen in Gänserndorf. Uni Vet Wien Report (2003), 4 10-12.

Reimers, M; Preuschoft, S; Schwarzenberger, F (2003): Personality traits and response to novel situations in former laboratory chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Verhandlungsbericht des 41. Internationalen Symposiums über die Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere, Rome, Italy, MAY 28 - JUN 01, 2003. Erkrankungen der Zootiere. Verhandlungsbericht des Internationalen Symposiums über die Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere 409-410.

Reimers, M; Schwarzenberger, F; Preuschoft, S (2003): Personality as a predictor for stress susceptibility and stress coping mechanisms in former laboratory chimpanzees (pan troglodytes). 8th Conference of the German Primate Society, Leipzig, Germany, 01. - 04.10.2003. 8th Conference of the German Primate Society, Leipzig, Germany, 01. - 04.10.2003.

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