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Six senior caregivers at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary volunteered to participate in the interview portion of our study. They have worked at Sweetwaters an average of The first stage of our project involved the first author conducting open-ended interviews with the caregivers to narrow down the pool of potential chimpanzees to focus on.

The caregivers interviewed had read Walsh et al.

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During the interviews, the first author asked the caregivers to list the names of any individual chimpanzees they have seen exhibit abnormal behaviors, as well as to list the different types of abnormal behaviors they had witnessed them engage in. The follow-up interviews were conducted by the first author with the same six senior caregivers initially interviewed.

For each chimpanzee, the two caregivers who worked most frequently with them were interviewed individually. This was an attempt to assess consistency in perceived symptoms in each chimpanzee between their two primary caregivers. During these interviews, the caregivers were asked questions based upon the alternative criteria for PTSD outlined in Ferdowsian et al. Our interviews revealed that none of the caregivers could speak to criterion D1 of Ferdowsian et al. For the purpose of this study, those criteria were not assessed. Given an individual only needs to meet a certain number of criteria in each of the symptom clusters, however, this did not impact our ability to determine whether the chimpanzees met the alternative criteria for PTSD.

Chimpanzee interactions with nonhuman species in an anthropogenic habitat

Since the research reported in this paper was first conducted, Rosati et al. Two of those chimpanzees will be discussed in this paper, Poco and Safari. They are both orphans of the African bushmeat trade who experienced maternal separation and deprivation, as well as social isolation and stressful living conditions during the first years of their life while they were kept on display for humans. Poco Figure 1 is estimated to have been born in It is not known how old he was when he was first separated from his mother and sold to humans, but he lived in a service station in Burudi where he was used to attract customers until he was rescued in While there, he lived alone and was kept suspended from the ceiling in a cage that was too small for him to lay down in See Figure 2 a [ 47 ].

This resulted in him having permanent back damage which causes him to walk bipedally Figure 2 b. When he first arrived at the Jane Goodall Institute sanctuary in Bujumbura, Burundi in , it is reported that he was weak and malnourished. After some time passed, he is reported to have adjusted and was considered the alpha male of his group for a period [ 47 ]. In , Burundi broke out into civil war and some of the chimpanzees living at the Jane Goodall Institute sanctuary were brought to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, including Poco and Safari. At Sweetwaters, Poco is considered a solitary chimpanzee and prefers the company of humans to other chimpanzees.

He is often found close to the observation tower, where visitors are allowed to view the chimpanzees for 3 hours a day, or is found close to the house the chimpanzees sleep in at night since this is where the caregivers spend much of their shifts. He has never been seen mating or attempting to mate with another chimpanzee but has been seen masturbating towards humans. Poco is characterized by caregivers as being a nervous chimpanzee who is easily startled by noises and always appears on guard hypervigilance.


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He is reportedly afraid of people in uniforms and brightly colored clothing, and will try to escape and injure anyone wearing them. He is also afraid of guns or items that resemble a gun and paces or throws rocks and sticks at anyone holding anything resembling these items intrusive recollection.

He once escaped from his enclosure and attacked a wildlife security officer who was dressed in uniform and carrying a gun while patrolling the fence perimeter. Caregivers stated that have seen him self-clasp, rock, fear grimace or display in the presence of humans, and that he also will flip his upper lip up to expose his teeth to them when distressed.

He is reported to sometimes seem unaware of the other chimpanzees and what they are doing around him as if he is having a dissociative episode. Caregivers say he spends a large proportion of his time poking his flesh with sticks or very sharp acacia thorns; he does not break the skin when doing this. Safari Figure 3 has a similar background as Poco. He is estimated to have been born in Again, the age at which he was first separated from conspecifics and sold to humans is not known. When he was rescued in , however, he was being singly housed and living in a small, dark cage behind a hotel in Burundi and was used to attract tourists [ 47 ].

Figure 1. Poco at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya in Figure 2. Figure 3. Safari at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Slowly, his aggression and neuroticism subsided. Now, Safari is a solitary chimpanzee and he too is often found poking his flesh with sticks or sharp acacia thorns, which can cause serious injury.

Unlike Poco, he has pushed so hard with a thorn that he injured the skin under his chin. He has also been seen biting himself.

He is said to become easily excited by exposed human skin and will often masturbate and rub his nipples at the sight of it or at the sight of human females. He has never been seen mating or attempting to mate with a chimpanzee. Safari is also characterized as being an anxious, easily agitated, and an easily angered chimpanzee. He gets upset at the sight of militaristic looking uniforms, gumboots, and items that resemble a gun, such as brooms intrusive recollection.

When seen, he displays physical symptoms of distress e. He is also very easily startled hypervigilance and made upset by flying birds and passing planes, and is afraid of sudden noises.

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When these objects are seen or heard, he will become physically and emotionally upset, will display and run into the bush, or will sit, self-clasp and rock back and forth. The first author conducted a total of 11 hours of observation on Poco and 11 hours of observation on Safari spread out across 7 days in June of These observation times are comparable to, and in some cases greater than, the amount used in other investigations of abnormal behavior in primates [ 16 , 20 , 48 ]. Poco and Safari were observed from an observation deck that abuts their enclosure or from the fence perimeter surrounding their enclosure at a distance ranging from 1.

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No observations were made near the visitor platform on the other side of their enclosure. They were observed in 30 min blocks using instantaneous focal animal sampling with 1 minute intervals. The distribution of the 30 min data collection sessions was quasi-randomly distributed and depended upon who was observable at a given time.

Since the chimpanzees are given free access to their large enclosures, there were times when Poco and Safari were unobservable for hours. If one reappeared, and he was not already observed for 2 h during that day, a data collection session began. Each session was separated by a minimum of 5 min and no more than 2 h of data were recorded during one day. The first author recorded both normal and abnormal behaviors using an ethogram that was a combination of behaviors documented in other captive-living chimpanzees [ 9 , 18 , 51 , 52 ] but also included one novel behavior that the first author observed while conducting preliminary observations at Sweetwaters in August of This was a repetitive and sustained poking into the skin with a sharp stick or thorn.

The observations were made with or without the use of binoculars. The data was recorded with pen and paper and a Sper Scientific Ltd continuous alarm timer. In addition to recording the behaviors Poco and Safari engaged in, the social context in which the behavior was occurring in e. We were interested in determining the diversity of abnormal behaviors Poco and Safari performed e. We defined behaviors as abnormal if the behaviors are species atypical and occur only, or more often, in captive-living chimpanzees [ 6 , 18 ].

We hypothesized that since the caregiver interviews revealed that they exhibited many of the symptoms of PTSD and CPTSD, and experienced prolonged years of social isolation before being rescued by the sanctuary, that our direct observations would reveal that they would spend a large percentage of their time engaging in a variety of abnormal behaviors, would display the symptoms of PTSD and CPTSD their caregivers mentioned them exhibiting, and would be socially withdrawn or human oriented more often than they would be with their group.

Poco was observed poking himself on his chin, ribs, neck, face, and back, and even poked himself while getting groomed by a female chimpanzee, JoJo. Figure 4.

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Table 2. Table 2 illustrates the percentage of each behavioral context that Poco was engaging in either normal e. On some occasions when he was human oriented, it appeared that the presence of humans upset him and he rocked 10 observations in response. If he was rocking while looking at the first author, she would walk away or reposition herself such that she was not causing him to be distressed. Some instances when she did walk away, he would then clap in her direction and extend his hand to her and nod his head in a way that suggested he wanted her to return.

A majority of the human-oriented behaviors, however, were him just sitting and looking at humans. In some instances he chose to be solitary while group members sat together on a large climbing structure, but many other times the group was off in the bush while he sat near his house or the fence. Beyond the behaviors recorded and outlined above, Poco was often observed sitting in a depressed hunched posture; while self-clasping, his head often hung below his shoulders Figure 5. He also exhibited many of the PTSD and CPTSD symptoms his caregivers mentioned such as appearing tense and constantly surveying the situation around him and he was never relaxed hypervigilance.

Relative to the other chimpanzees in his group, he appeared to overreact to distant noises and the arrival of humans somatization, affect dysregulation.

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Despite once being the reported alpha of his group, Poco was very submissive and avoided all interactions with the current alpha male of the group. Figure 5.

Poco sitting in a depressed, hunched posture. The diversity of abnormal behaviors that Safari performed was five and included flipping his lip, rocking, hand-wiping, masturbating to humans, and poking himself with an object Figure 6.