Primate Research
Online ISSN : 1880-2117
Print ISSN : 0912-4047
ISSN-L : 0912-4047
Review and Long-Term Survey of the Status of Captive Chimpanzees in Japan in 1926-2013
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JOURNALS FREE ACCESS Advance online publication

Article ID: 30.009

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Chimpanzees were first kept in captivity in Japan in 1926. The Great Ape Information Network (GAIN) collated historical and current data on all chimpanzees housed in Japan between 1926 and 2013 (972 individuals). GAIN has made this information available on an open-access database, with a record for each chimpanzee. Aims of this resource are to promote and inform good scientific research, welfare, care, and management of captive chimpanzees in Japan. This review presents quantitative data on the number of chimpanzees housed in each facility-type, number of individuals per facility, and increases in the number of individuals (imported historically or born in Japan). Facilities were categorized according to purpose: 1) zoo exhibition and/or entertainment, 2) cognitive/behavioral studies, 3) biomedical, and 4) other (animal dealer or privately-owned as pets). By the 1970s, chimpanzees housed in captivity increased with the number of zoos. Many wild chimpanzees were imported from Africa for use in invasive biomedical studies in around 1980. Japan ratified CITES in 1980. The captive population peaked in the 1990s, before decreasing. Field studies and laboratory-based cognitive investigations of chimpanzees in the 1990s and 2000s swayed public opinion against biomedical use. In 2006, invasive study of chimpanzees in Japan was severely limited and, by mid-2012, completely stopped. Ex-biomedical chimpanzees were assigned to cognitive and welfare studies. Since the 1987 peak in number of facilities, number of chimpanzees housed per facility has generally increased. The GAIN database has tried to facilitate increasing awareness of the vital importance, to good welfare, of housing chimpanzees within social groups. On 31st March, 2014, there were 323 chimpanzees in 51 facilities. Data provided by GAIN, and summarized in this paper, will hopefully aid the establishment of an action plan for good welfare, care, management and reproduction strategies to develop a self-sustaining population of captive chimpanzees in Japan.

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