Birmingham researchers have introduced a forest canopy-like
environment in the chimpanzee enclosure at Twycross Zoo using
the software, which provides data on wild chimpanzee behavior
and allows researchers to analyze changes.
"A key part of the tool is that it's based on replicating the
mechanical challenges that chimpanzees experience in the wild in
their daily lives," Susannah Thorpe, senior lecturer at the
University of Birmingham, told Reuters.
"So when they're moving around forest canopy they have to deal
with branches flexing under their weight, they have to deal with
planning routes in advance so they know where to go to get to
the next food source and we're trying to emulate these
mechanical challenges into the lives of captive chimpanzees."
Straps and other structures have been installed to make the
chimps bend and move around off the ground.
The tool could eventually help re-introduction programs by
giving chimps in captivity the cognitive skills to survive in
the wild, Thorpe said.
"The primary thing that we can see right away is that they're
much more active," she said.
"These animals that really could be reintroduced back into the
wild also clearly need to have a whole range of skills that they
need to move around the forest canopy to get food and to
socialize with each other."
(Reporting by Matthew Stock; editing by Andrew Roche)
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