Abstract # 1965 Poster # 157:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 17 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation


OUTDOOR HOUSING DECREASES SELF-INJURIOUS AND STEREOTYPIC BEHAVIOR IN ADULT MALE RHESUS MACAQUES (Macaca mulatta).

M. N. Wilkes1, C. S. Lynch2 and M. B. Fontenot1
1Division of Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette-New Iberia Research Center , New Iberia, LA 70560, USA, 2Psychology Department, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
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     We examined whether housing in an outdoor environment reduces measures of stereotypic and self-injurious behavior (SIB) in rhesus macaques. The subjects were 13 adult males, with history of severe SIB. All were previously individually housed indoors for at least 4 yrs prior. Twenty-minute focal behavioral observations were done twice a week for 6 weeks during the baseline (indoor) period. The animals were relocated outdoors and assigned to one of two experimental conditions, group- (n = 8) or single-housed (n = 5). In Phase 1, ten-minute focal behavioral observations were done four times per week for six weeks. Phase 2, group-housed animals were observed for an additional six weeks. We used a repeated measures analysis of variance with location (indoor versus outdoor) and time (three 2-week periods) as within subjects factors and housing (group- versus single-housed) as the between subjects factor followed by univariate contrasts. In Phase 1, rates of self-biting, self-directed stereotypies, and percentage time spent displaying self-directed stereotypies decreased for all animals when housed outdoors (P < 0.05). For group-housed animals in Phase 2, rates of self-biting and percentage time engaging in self-directed stereotypies remained significantly lower during weeks 7-12 compared to indoor housing (P < 0.01). No effects of housing on self-wounding were identified in either phase. Our findings suggest that outdoor housing is an effective means of ameliorating self-biting and stereotypic behavior.