Chimpanzees, which have been raised by humans, cannot form social bonds with their fellow species even if they flourish in sanctuaries. This is the result of a new study published in Peerj.
There is nothing strange in a chimpanzee which is raised by humans to behave and interact differently as compared to normal chimps who are free in nature. However this study reveals that chimps who serve as pets obtain these abnormal social effects that could remain for decades even if pet chimps were brought up in a nurturing, healthy sanctuary.
Researchers changed their focus from identifying the chimps as human or mother reared to chimp versus human interaction. One group was isolated from humans while the other group was taken and reared for four years by humans.
The scientists were quick to discern that abnormal social behaviors by chimps were not only visible in aggression or violent acts but in grooming social behavior among their group also.
Grooming is a very important ritual in chimpanzee communities according to Steve Ross, lead researcher and director of the Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo.
However what is disturbing is the variation in how the chimp grooms one another. The failure of the chimps to reciprocate the grooming by itself shows that there is a simmering undercurrent of social tensions in the community.
Grooming is a sign of friendship and a lack of openness is precipitating this aggressive behaviour in the chimps. The study also shows that it is not good to keep the Chimp as a pet even if they are being used as commercial performers. Ross and his team have already transferred more than 30 primates who were living in private homes and businesses into healthy sanctuaries and habitats with his program, ChimpCARE. Ross has also warned that chimps become aggressive when kept indoors and can pose a big threat to human safety.