Linda Van Elsacker


As director of the Zoological department I am a member of the board of directors of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO where all the decisions are being made of every possible aspect of running a zoo, from projects to budgets, to staff related matters.

I steer 4 teams within our department:

  • the curators and their back-office (and the keepers) who look after and manage the animal collection, take care of transports, etc.
  • the Centre of Resource and Conservation (CRC) of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO, our scientists and studbook keepers
  • the veterinarian and his lab
  • the graphic and educational staff that take care of the different sings and educational communication at exhibits and other places in our Zoos.

Extra activities

For several years I used to be a member of the Executive Committee (2013-2016) and Council (2010-2016) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).

Research Interests

Behaviour, hormones, behavioural ecology, conservation, genetics, animal welfare, …

Key publications

Pereboom J.J.M., Leus K. & Van Elsacker L. (2011) Pro Natura et Scientia: Zoo research at the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp International Zoo Yearbook 45: 38-47. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1090.2011.00132.x

De Vleeschouwer K., Van Elsacker L., Leus K. (2010) Golden-headed lion tamarins in focus: Project BioBrasil, a Belgian-Brazilian collaboration on biodiversity. In: Building a future for wildlife: Zoos and Aquariums committed to biodiversity conservation (WAZA) - edited by G.Dick & M.Gusset

Stevens J.M.G., Vervaecke H., Van Elsacker L. (2008) The bonobo's adaptive potential: social relations under captive conditions. The Bonobos: behaviour, ecology and Conservation. Furuichi T, Thompson J (eds) Springer Verlag pp 19-38 doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-74787-3_2 (IF: 2.073)

Deblauwe I., Dibog L., Missoup A.D., Dupain J., Van Elsacker L. (2007) Spatial scales affecting termite diversity in tropical lowland rainforest: a case study in Southeast Cameroon. African Journal of Ecology (IF: 0,385)

Bollen A., Donati G., Fietz J., Schwab D., Ramanamanjato J.B., Randrihasapara L., Van Elsacker L., Ganzhorn J.U. (2005) An intersite comparison of fruit characteristics Madagascar: evidence for selection pressure through abiotic constraints rather than through coevolution. In: Tropical fruits and frugivores (L Dew & JP Boubli, eds.) Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Chapter 6 p. 93-119

Deblauwe I., Guislain P., Dupain J., Van Elsacker L. (2006) Use of a tool-set by Pan troglodytes troglodytes to obtain termites (macrotermes) in the periphery of the Dja Biosphere Reserve, Southeast Cameroon. American Journal of Primatology 68: 1191-1196

Stevens J.M.G, Vervaecke H., De Vries H. & Van Elsacker L. (2006) Social structures in Pan paniscus: Testing the female bonding hypothesis. Primates 47: 210-217

Sannen A., Van Elsacker L., Heistermann M., Eens M. 2005) Certain aspects of bonobo female sexual repertoire are related to urinary testosterone metabolite levels Folia Primatologica 76(1): 21-32 (IF: 1,930)

D'Août K., Aerts P., Vereecke E., Schoonaert K., De Clercq D., Van Elsacker L. (2004) Locomotion in bonobos (Pan paniscus): differences and similarities between bipedal and quadrupedal terrestrial walking, and a comparison with other locomotor modes. Journal of Anatomy 204: 353-361 (IF: 2,072)

De Lathouwers M., Van Elsacker L. (2004) Comparing maternal styles in bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology 64(4): 411-423

De Vleeschouwer K., Leus K., Van Elsacker L. (2004) Re-assessing the reversibility of melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants in golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas): a comparison with golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia). Animal Welfare 13: 183-191 (IF: 0,866)

De Vleeschouwer K., Leus K. & Van Elsacker L. (2003) Stability of breeding and non-breeding groups of golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas). Animal Welfare 12(2): 251-268 (IF: 0,667)

Tardif S.D., Santos C.V., Baker A.J., Van Elsacker L., Feistner A.T.C., Kleiman D.G., Ruiz-Miranda C.R., De A. Moura A.C., De C. Passos F., Price E.C., Rappaport L. & De Vleeschouwer K. (2002) Infant care and development in lion tamarins. In: The Lion Tamarins: Biology and Conservation. Ed. by D. Kleiman and A. Rylands. Smithsonian Institution Press 133-156

D'Août K., Aerts P., De Clercq D., Schoonaert K., Vereecke E. & Van Elsacker L. (2001) Studying bonobo (Pan paniscus) locomotion using an integrated setup in a zoo environment: preliminary results. Primatologie 4, 191-206.

Dupain J., Van Elsacker L. (2001) The status of the bonobo (Pan paniscus) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In: Galdikas, B.M.F., Briggs, N., Sheeran, L.K., Shapiro, G.L. & J. Goodall, editors. All apes great and small volume 1: African apes. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 57-74

De Vleeschouwer K., Leus K., Van Elsacker L. (2000) An evaluation of the suitability of contraceptive methods in golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas), with emphasis on melengestrol acetate (MGA-) implants: I. Effectiveness, reversibility and medical side effects. Animal Welfare 9(3): 251-271

Vervaecke H., De Vries H., Van Elsacker L. (2000) The pivotal role of rank in grooming and support behaviour in captive bonobos (Pan paniscus). Behaviour 137: 1463-1485.

Mills J., Reinartz G., De Bois H., Van Elsacker L. & Van Puijenbroeck B. (1997) SSP Bonobo Husbandry Manual: The care and management of bonobos (Pan paniscus) in captive environments. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Zoological Society of Milwaukee County

Heistermann M., Möhle U., Vervaecke H., Van Elsacker L. & Hodges J.K. (1996) Application of urinary and faecal measurements for monitoring ovarian function and pregnancy in the bonobo (Pan paniscus) and the evaluation of perineal swelling patterns in relation to endocrine events. Biology of Reproduction 55: 844-853

Van Elsacker L., Vervaecke H., Verheyen R.F. (1995) A review of the terminology on aggregation patterns in pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus). International Journal of Primatology 16(1): 37-52

Van Elsacker L., De Meurichy W., Verheyen R.F., Walraven V. (1992) Parental behaviour in golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas): Maternal differences in infant carriage. Folia Primatologica 59: 121-126

Van Elsacker L., Pinxten R., Verheyen R.F. (1988) Timing of offspring recognition in adult starlings. Behaviour 107: 122-130 (IF: 1,269)