Zjef Pereboom

Research themes

  • Animal behaviour
  • Animal welfare
  • Population management
  • Conservation Biology
  • Zoo research


As head of the Antwerp ZOO Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) I am primarily in charge of the development and implementation of our Research Strategy, keeping an eye out for strategic collaborations and new developments in zoo research, and line-managing the CRC research team. 

Extra activities

  • I teach and supervise Bachelor and Master students in Conservation Genetics and Primatology at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and I run a course on Zoo Conservation Biology at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). I also give guest lectures to students at different universities in Belgium and abroad.
  • Within the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) I chair the Research Committee, which is responsible for the implementation of the EAZA Research Strategy. I am also a member of the EAZA Biobank Working Group and the EAZA EEP Committee, and I chair the editorial board of EAZA’s scientific journal JZAR (Journal of Zoo & Aquarium Research).
  • In addition, I am a member of the editorial board of the journal Zoo Biology and a member of the Board of Experts for the Special Care Unit for the ex-laboratory chimpanzees cared for by Stichting AAP in the Netherlands. 

Research Interests

My current research interests focus on the science of small population management, in particular how demographic and genetic data from ex situ breeding populations can be used to inform and optimise the management of zoo and wild populations. This work is done in collaboration with various international partners in the zoo community, the conservation community and academia. 

Brief Biography

I obtained an MSC and PhD in Behavioural Ecology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and gained considerable research experience in animal behaviour (Utrecht University), molecular genetics (Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London) and conservation biology and Animal welfare (RZSA). I am a visiting professor at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) and employed part-time at the University of Antwerp (Belgium), where I am involved in teaching and course development, and the supervision of PhD and MSc students.

Key Publications

Rietkerk, F., & Pereboom, J. J. M. (2018). Editorial: Conservation of Great Apes: Zoo contributions towards improving management and well-being of great apes: augmenting knowledge to safeguard our closest relatives. International Zoo Yearbook, 52(1), 9-15. https://doi.org/10.1111/izy.12202 

Weiss, A., Staes, N., Pereboom, J. J. M., Inoue-Murayama, M., Stevens, J. M. G., & Eens, M. (2015). Personality in Bonobos. Psychological Science, 26(9), 1430-1439. DOI: 10.1177/0956797615589933

Willie, J., Tagg, N., Petre, C-A., Pereboom, J. J. M., & Lens, L. (2014). Plant selection for nest building by western lowland gorillas in Cameroon. Primates, 55(1), 41-49. 10.1007/s10329-013-0363-5

Ndeloh-Etiendem, D., Tagg, N., Hens, L., & Pereboom, Z. (2013). Human use of Mawambi Hills forests, SW Cameroon: Implications for the survival of the Cross River gorilla. Endangered Species Research, 20, 167-179. 10.3354/esr00492

Browne, R.K. , K. Wolfram, G. García, M.F. Bagaturov, & J.J.M. Pereboom (2011) Zoo-based amphibian research and conservation breeding programs. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 5(3):1-14.

Ndeloh Etiendem, D., L. Hens and J. Pereboom. (2011) Traditional Knowledge Systems and the Conservation of Cross River Gorillas: a Case Study of Bechati, Fossimondi, Besali, Cameroon. Ecology and Society 16 (3): 22 http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04182-160322

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

Lopez-Vaamonde C., N. E. Raine, J. W. Koning, R. M. Brown, J. J. M. Pereboom, T. C. Ings,. Ramos-Rodriguez, W. C. Jordan & A. F. G. Bourke (2009) Lifetime reproductive success and longevity of queens in an annual social insect. Journal of Evolotionary Biology 22: 983-996 DOI 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01706.x

Csatádi, K., K. Leus and J. J.M. Pereboom (2008) A brief note on the effects of novel enrichment on an unwanted behaviour of captive bonobos. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 112: 201-204. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2007.09.001

Van Coillie S., Galbusera P., Roeder A.D., Schempp W., Stevens J.M.G., Leus K., Reinartz G., Pereboom J.J.M. (2008) Molecular paternity determination in captive bonobos and the impact of inbreeding on infant mortality. Animal Conservation 11: 306-312 doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00186.x

Lopez-Vaamonde C., R.M. Brown, J.J.M. Pereboom, W.C. Jordan & A. F.G. Bourke (2007). Effect of the queen on worker reproduction and new queen production in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Apidologie 38: 171-180. doi: 10.1051/apido:2006070

Sumner, S., J.J.M. Pereboom and W.C. Jordan (2006). Differential gene expression and phenotypic plasticity in behavioural castes of the primitively eusocial wasp, Polistes canadensis. Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 273:19-26.

Pereboom, J. J.M., W.C. Jordan, S. Sumner, R.L. Hammond, and A. F.G. Bourke (2005). Differential gene expression in queen-worker caste determination in bumblebees. Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 272, 1145–1152.

Pereboom, J.J.M. and J.C. Biesmeijer (2003). Thermal constraints for stingless bees: the importance of body size and coloration. Oecologia 137: 42 - 50

Pereboom, J.J.M., H.H.W. Velthuis and M.J. Duchateau (2003). The organisation of larval feeding in bumblebees (Hymenoptera, Apidae) and its significance to caste differentiation. Insectes Sociaux 50: 127-133

Book chapters

Faust, L., André, C., Belais, R., Minesi, F., Pereboom, J., Rodriguez, K., & Hare, B. (2017). Bonobo population dynamics: past patterns and future predictions for the Lola ya Bonobo population using demographic modeling. In B. Hare, & S. Yamamoto (Eds.), Bonobos: Unique in Mind, Brain, and Behavior Oxford University Press.

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