Personality, differences in individual behaviour that are consistent across time and situations, have relatively recently been determined in a wide range of non-human animals. As the existence of animal personality increases within the scientific literature, the scope for practical application of knowledge increases concurrently. This study aimed to investigate ways in which personality data can be applied to the ex-situ management of threatened primate species. The first part of this research quantified personality in the European zoo population of Symphalangus syndactylus, including validation of trait rating techniques. Personality data were then applied to the study of reproductive success. Secondly, the ex-situ European population of Macaca nigra were also studied using the same Hominoid Personality Questionnaire (HPQ). With this form of trait rating previously validated for the species, personality data were here applied to investigate the temporal stability of traits within individuals. Results produced show that the HPQ produced reliable assessments of personality traits in both S. syndactylus and M. nigra (mean ICC[3,k] scores of 0.37 and 0.47 respectively). No significant effect of personality was observed on S. syndactylus reproductive success; however, the number of breeding transfers (males) and age (females) showed significant correlation with reproductive success scores. There were no significant correlations between the majority of trait scores when M. nigra were surveyed at two sample points, with an almost 10-year interval, suggesting that these traits were not temporally stable over that length of time. The reliability of personality assessment in captive primates, as well as potential applications for ex-situ species conservation, is discussed.

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