Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Refinements to captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) care: a self-medication paradigm

Buy Article:

$25.00 + tax (Refund Policy)


In an effort to enhance welfare, behavioural management continually refines methods of non-human primate (NHP) care. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are one of the most cognitively complex captive NHPs and they have been observed to self-medicate in the wild. The population of captive chimpanzees in the US is aged (due to a breeding moratorium instituted in 1998) and will progressively require more medical care as they get older. To functionally simulate natural self-medication behaviour, provide chimpanzees with the opportunity to voluntarily participate in their own healthcare, and open new avenues of communication between caregivers and chimpanzees, we used a medication choice paradigm that allowed chimpanzees to choose their daily arthritis medication. We provided four arthritic, mobility-impaired chimpanzees with meloxicam or ibuprofen in blue or green Gatorade® to establish associations between the coloured drinks and the effects of the medications. We subsequently gave each chimpanzee a choice between the two medications. Behaviour was recorded using 15-min focal animal observations. Mobility was assessed using interactive mobility tests and a caregiver-rating system. One chimpanzee showed a medication preference (ibuprofen over meloxicam). The chimpanzees exhibited no significant behavioural or mobility differences over time, suggesting that ibuprofen and meloxicam may not differ significantly in their ability to alleviate arthritic symptoms. Whether or not the chimpanzees show a medication preference, the opportunity to make meaningful choices and the functional simulation of a complex behaviour, self-medication, is present when using this medication choice technique. Furthermore, the paradigm itself could have potential applications for additional medication options and treatment regimens.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: animal welfare; behavioural management; captivity; chimpanzees; choice; voluntary participation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Michale E Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, 650 Cool Water Drive, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2018

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more