Pet Primates: Chimps Raised by Humans Have Social Problems as Adults

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History has shown that raising a chimp among humans can turn out bad for humans. Now, a new study published in the scientific journal PeerJ sheds light on why such an upbringing can be bad for chimps as well. Chimps are wild and naturally aggressive animals; raising them as pets or show performers can scar them behaviorally later in life, the research by Hani D. Freeman and Stephen R. Ross suggests.

Researchers studied the behaviors of 60 chimpanzees living in zoos or sanctuaries, 36 of which were former pets or performers. They found that chimps that had little exposure to other chimps as infants showed less grooming and sexual behaviors later in life. “The results of this research suggest that future research should focus on developing the best management strategies for how to care for chimpanzees with a variety of early histories in order to meet their social needs,” the authors wrote.



— James Eng