Abstract # 1899 Poster # 61:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 8 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation

Methods for Successfully Pair Housing Adult Male Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

D. M. Abney1,2 and J. L. Weed2
1SoBran, Inc, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA, 2Division of Veterinary Resources, Office of Research Services, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services
     Adult male primates housed in a laboratory setting can be challenging to socialize due to the potential for fierce aggression. Often, this means adult males are overlooked and are not socialized. Data collected at the NIH Animal Center over the past two years shows the successful same-sex pairing of 34 male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Animals were socialized in different age combinations, consisting of adult/adult, adult/sub-adult, and adult/juvenile. Consideration was given to the animals’ socialization history prior to pairing, although most were selected due to protocol eligibility and similar serology. A series of unique panels were placed between the animals, prior to introduction, to allow increasing levels of inter-contact. The pairs started with a clear panel (lexan), allowing the animals to see one another, but not touch. Next, they were given a mesh panel, which allowed finger touch access. Grooming bars were the final panel used before the pair was given full, unrestricted access. Pairs were deemed successful if no serious fighting or injury occurred within one week’s time. Out of 56 rhesus socializations attempted which included at least one adult, 34 were successful (61%) yielding a slightly higher success rate than previously published reports. This introduction method allows observers the opportunity to assess behavior of partners more closely before full access is given demonstrating that potentially dangerous socializations can occur under laboratory conditions.