Use of a ‘Creep’: Zoo Animal Management to Encourage Reproductive Behaviours in Captive Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)


  • Christian Paul Howell Blackpool Zoo
  • Simon Childs



breeding, preference, primate, proximity


The number of endangered species held within zoos is increasing; therefore, zoo staff need to be able to understand factors that influence reproduction in captivity, ensuring sustainable populations. However, a variety of factors that are often unknown can cause suitable breeding set-ups to fail. This study aimed to determine whether the use of a ‘creep’, a partially closed sliding door allowing only smaller female individuals passage into enclosure areas to enhance their control over proximity to a male, has the potential to stimulate copulatory behaviours within zoo-housed orangutans Pongo pygmaeus. During observations, when the creep was in use, the male individual spent significantly less time observing people, less time resting and more time feeding and foraging. Female conspecifics also spent less time resting and more time feeding and foraging. However, when given control over their proximity to the male during creep periods, no difference was recorded in their proximity to the male. It is concluded that the use of a creep did not aid in stimulating reproductive related behaviours in this group of orangutans.





Evidence Based Practice