Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Brian Verrelli

Second Advisor

Amy Rector Verrelli

Third Advisor

Lesley Bulluck

Fourth Advisor

Christopher Stevenson


The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan Species Survival Plan® aims to maintain 100 Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) in captivity. Because investment in breeding these lineages is high, properly managing sociality of potential mothers is essential. This study assessed how behaviors of a captive breeding female at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo changed from pre-gestation through the offspring’s sixth month of age to improve breeding recommendations.

The infant Bornean orangutan was born September 2016. Results indicate that during breeding, the mother socialized most with two adult females. During pregnancy, the pregnant female socialized in less energy-consuming ways, i.e. grooming. Post-partum socialization and proximity data suggest a shift in female affiliation. The presence of another female with maternal experience may be beneficial to the rearing of new offspring. These results can help guide socialization management for pregnant captive orangutans to improve breeding outcomes.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission