Cortisol analysis of hair of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Yumi Yamanashi, Naruki Morimura, Yusuke Mori, Misato Hayashi, Juri Suzuki
DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2013.08.013


In addition to behavioral evaluations, stress assessments are also important for measuring animal welfare. Assessments of long-term stress are particularly important given that prolonged stress can affect physical health and reproduction. The use of hair cortisol as a marker of long-term stress has been increasing, but there has not yet been any report on the use of such methods with chimpanzees. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to establish and validate a methodology for analyzing hair cortisol in captive chimpanzees. In the first experiment, hair was removed from the arms of nine chimpanzees living in the Kumamoto Sanctuary (KS) and the regrown hair was sampled 3. months later. Fecal samples were collected periodically during the hair-growth period. The results showed that hair cortisol level was positively correlated with the rate of receiving aggression. Although the correlation between hair and fecal cortisol levels was not significant, the individual with the highest hair cortisol concentration also had the highest fecal cortisol concentration. These results suggest that hair cortisol may reflect long-term stress in chimpanzees. In the second experiment, we investigated the physiological factors affecting hair cortisol concentrations. We cut hair from the arms, sides, and backs of 25 chimpanzees living at the KS and the Primate Research Institute. The results revealed that cortisol varied based on source body part and hair whiteness. Therefore, we recommend that hair should always be collected from the same body part and that white hair should be avoided as much as possible.

Aggression, All-male group, Chimpanzees, Hair cortisol, Welfare

Article Information
Yamanashi, Y., Morimura, N., Mori, Y., Hayashi, M., & Suzuki, J.(2013)Cortisol analysis of hair of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) General and Comparative Endocrinology , 194. 55-63 10.1016/j.ygcen.2013.08.013