Congratulations, Drew!

December 8, 2021

Congratulations, Drew!

A photograph showing a chimpanzee sitting in the forest

Congratulations, graduate student, Drew Arbogast

His presentation, titled "Survival and mortality of captive former biomedical research chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)," presented at the 43rd Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists recently received First Place in the Student Award Competition for Best Poster! 

He presented on results from an analysis testing the assumption that captive animal populations, such as those living in zoos and sanctuaries, have longer life expectancies than their wild counterparts.

Read his full abstract below.

Sound data on longevity and mortality are essential for understanding life-history patterns and managing captive populations. This is particularly true for long-lived taxa such as nonhuman primates. Animal populations living in zoos and sanctuaries are often assumed to live longer than their wild counterparts; however, little data exists to test this assumption. Even fewer studies have examined demographic statistics among captive animals previously used as test subjects in pre-clinical research. This study analyzed over 51,000 life-years of data from a retired population (n=2349) of captive former biomedical research chimpanzees between May 5, 1900 and September 16, 2014. Our goal was to assess the population’s current age-sex composition, estimate rates of survivorship, mortality, and life expectancy, and compare this population to other chimpanzee populations of interest. Results indicated a current population declining in size and increasingly geriatric. Average age at death differed by birth type (wild-born 32.1, captive-born 18.2, t=8.66, p<0.001) and time period (pre-2000 15.1, post-2000 27.4, t=10.23, p<0.001), but not by sex (males 21.1, females 21.5, t=-1.18, p=0.239). Finally, age- and sex-specific life tables revealed higher survival rates among females than males (X2=33.3, p<0.001). Overall, the population had a life expectancy at birth of 29.8 years (males 27.2, females 32.3). For chimpanzees who reached one year of age, life expectancy increased to 33.0 years (males 30.3, females 35.6). Continued monitoring of captive chimpanzee demography can guide age-appropriate veterinary care practices and inform management decisions in the future.


Photo by Franceso Ungaro on Unsplash

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