SKU COURSE - Chimpanzee Behaviour Category Tag


Understanding Chimpanzee Behaviour is a short online course in the science of understanding chimpanzee behavior and its application to improve conditions in captivity.

What does it mean to be a chimpanzee particularly living in captivity and how do humans impact their lives? We’ll begin with understanding basics of behavior and communication. This will include the social lives of chimpanzees in the wild and how they communicate. These natural abilities were harnessed in cross-fostering studies in the 70s and 80s, in which infant chimpanzees acquired signs, and those studies will be described. How do we care for these intelligent social beings in captivity through diet, enrichment, sociality, cooperation, training, and safety? Things often go wrong leading to abnormal behaviors and mental health issues. What are ways to ensure quality and consistency in care through daily records?

Finally, we will turn to ethics. How are chimpanzees used by humans and what happens to them after the research ends? Who is still left? Who protects them in the US and how do we ensure the best in care? This course will address all of these questions and more.

Topics include:

  • – Elements of chimpanzee behaviour and context
  • – Culture
  • – Communication
  • – Sign language studies
  • – Use in research
  • – Environmental enrichment
  • – Diet
  • – Husbandry protocols in sanctuary settings
  • – Ethics
  • – Basic data collection

This is a 3-week course offered July 12–30, 2021. There will be 2–3 lessons covered each week. The format will include synchronous and asynchronous activities with no requirement for synchronous participation. Coursework will include online presentations and discussions, activities, and readings. Reading materials will be made available for download.

Required Materials:

  • – Computer
  • – Reliable internet connection
  • Free Zoom app

Understanding Chimpanzee Behaviour will be taught by Mary Lee Jensvold, Ph.D., Fauna Associate Director and Primate Communication Scientist, and co-hosted by Friends of Washoe. After you enroll in this class, online portal access and Zoom links will be emailed to you prior to class start.

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