Abstract # 190:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 11:25 AM-11:45 AM: Session 18 (North Main Hall C/D) Symposium

Feeding Enrichment for Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Twenty Years Later

M. Bloomsmith1,2
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 2Georgia Tech's Center for Conservation and Behavior
     Twenty years ago I presented my dissertation research project at the ASP conference. The project was a straightforward assessment of the behavioral effects of a feeding enrichment program for chimpanzees, and was within the framework of my advisor, Dr. Terry Maple’s, interest in animal welfare. In the study we found that there were beneficial behavioral outcomes of the enrichment, including increased time devoted to feeding and foraging, and reduced aggression and abnormal behaviors as measured by multivariate analysis of variance [Pillais Trace=1.26, p<0.001] (Bloomsmith et al., 1988). My dissertation project was conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center chimpanzee facility in Bastrop, Texas, in 1986. At that time, federal regulations for promoting the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates had just been enacted. Dr. Michale Keeling, the director of the Bastrop facility, became one of the first to hire a behavioral primatologist as a permanent staff member to address issues related to primate well-being. Since this study was conducted, there have been tremendous strides in this area of research and in the implementation of environmental enrichment programs. Now, nearly all major primate facilities employ behavioral scientists to manage and evaluate enrichment programs (Baker et al., 2006). Enrichment has become a routine part of caring for nonhuman primates, it is reviewed by regulating and accrediting bodies, and it is expected by members of the public. I am still studying primate well-being, and I am amazed at how quickly things have changed in this field.