Abstract # 41:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Goals Achieved with Captive Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta) when Utilizing Innovative Bottle Challenge

P. O'Neill Wagner
Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, DHHS:PHS:NIH:NICHD, NIH Animal Center, PO Box 334, Poolesville, MD 20837, USA
     The goal was to attract and maintain a troop of 67 free-ranging rhesus monkeys in a designated area with adequate visibility for population monitoring. A food presentation strategy was developed, tested, and then implemented once weekly for a period of one-year. To start, six 5-gallon clear water bottles were purchased from a drinking water distributor. During the five-day testing phase 2-6 bottles were introduced with a varied mix of food treats (popcorn, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mini marshmallows) or monkey chow. As filled bottles were introduced to the designated area the troop roll call list was employed to record all monkeys sighted and their success attaining access to the bottle contents. This was done until all animals were accounted for. All monkeys gained access to food treats either directly from the bottle or indirectly off the ground. Monkeys emptied all bottles having marshmallows in the mix within the first 2.5 hours. Bottles containing only chow were emptied within 48 hours. Mixed-treat bottles were implemented to reliably maintain the troop in a designated area for completion of population surveys. Some animals adapted multiple strategies to access bottle contents; others simply watched and waited for leftovers. This procedure was also utilized for rapid troop relocation within 5-acre indoor-outdoor enclosure. Widespread distribution of treats may explain why the bottle challenge outperformed prior strategies.