We report on the permanent retirement of chimpanzees from biomedical research and on resocialization after long-term social isolation. Our aim was to investigate to what extent behavioral and endocrine measures of stress in deprived laboratory chimpanzees can be improved by a more species-typical social life style. Personality in terms of novelty responses, social dominance after resocialization and hormonal stress susceptibility were affected by the onset of maternal separation of infant chimpanzees and duration of deprivation. Chimpanzees, who were separated from their mothers at a younger age and kept in isolation for more years appeared to be more timid personalities, less socially active, less dominant and more susceptible to stress, as compared to chimpanzees with a less severe deprivation history. However, permanent retirement from biomedical research in combination with therapeutic resocialization maximizing chimpanzees" situation control resulted in reduced fecal cortisol metabolite levels. Our results indicate that chimpanzees can recover from severe social deprivation, and may experience resocialization as less stressful than solitary housing.
Adaptation, Psychological/physiology* Animals Animals, Laboratory* Exploratory Behavior Hydrocortisone/analysis Hydrocortisone/metabolism Male Models, Biological Pan troglodytes* Social Dominance Social Environment Social Isolation*/psychology Stress, Physiological/rehabilitation* Stress, Physiological/veterinary Time