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Disciplines

Animal Studies | Biology

Abstract

Here we discuss the influence of the mother and father on the behaviors of a juvenile Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). This species is known for being solitary and asocial, in that males and females do not live together, while living in their natural environment. However, adults are usually housed together in zoo settings. We observed a juvenile and both of her parents in their zoo enclosure and recorded the play and parentally influenced behaviors, such as swinging and eating, performed by the juvenile. It was found that the juvenile played and performed parentally influenced behaviors significantly more while in the presence of her mother than with her father, and while in the presence of both parents than when with a specific parent. Our study highlights the importance of looking at behavioral interactions within a species that usually has limited to no interactions in the wild. It is essential to compare the differences between members of the same species who have been either bred and kept in captivity or lived their entire lives in the wild because once those differences are discovered, zoo enrichment activities, food offerings, and housing structures can be changed so as to create the most natural conditions for these animals.

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