Zjef Pereboom

Research themes

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


As acting head of the Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO, I am primarily in charge of the development and delivery of the Research Strategy, and line-managing the zoo research team. As international studbook keeper and vice-coordinator for the bonobo breeding programme, I support the EEP (EAZA Ex-situ programmes) coordinator Jeroen Stevens in the management of this population. I am also employed part-time as a professor in conservation genetics at the University of Antwerp, and a guest lecturer in conservation biology at Utrecht University.

Extra activities

  • Within the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) I chair the Research Committee, which is responsible for the implementation of EAZA's Research Strategy, and in that role I am one of the driving forces in the development of centralised biobanking facilities for the European zoo community.
  • I also chair the editorial board of EAZA’s scientific journal JZAR (Journal of Zoo & Aquarium Research), and I am a member of the EAZA EEP Committee and the EAZA Great Ape Taxon Advisory Group.
  • Other related activities include active involvement in the editorial board of Zoo Biology, membership of the Research Working Group of the Dutch Zoo Federation NVD, and I am 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 captive breeding populations can be used to inform and optimise the management of wild and captive populations. This work is done in collaboration with various international collaborators in the zoo community, the conservation community and universities

Brief Biography

I obtained a PhD in Behavioural Ecology from 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

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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