Abstract # 43:

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

Incorporation of Enrichment Objects in Threat Displays by Laboratory Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta).

S. P. Leland1,2, A. M. West1,2, J. M. Erwin3,4, R. A. Byrum2, A. T. Dodson2, S. W. Harbaugh2, L. G. Matthias2, W. L. Wagner2 and M. C. St. Claire2
1BIOQUAL, INC., Department of Primate Psychology, Rockville, MD, USA, 2BIOQUAL, INC., Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Rockville, MD, USA, 3Foundation for Comparative and Conservation Biology, Needmore, PA, USA, 4Consultant, Needmore, PA, USA
     Self-directed aggression in laboratory macaques is commonly considered an abnormal behavioral pattern signaling psychological disturbance, whether it is in the form of self-injurious behavior (SIB) or is just part of a self-directed threat display (SDD). Objects such as Kong® toys have been widely adopted as enrichment and have been observed to be incorporated into threat displays (“toy threats” = TT). Data from a program of behavioral monitoring were examined, and 30 individuals were selected for more intensive observation. Five individuals that had exhibited each of the following patterns were selected: macaques observed to exhibit low (Group 1) or high (Group 2) rates of SDD; macaques observed to exhibit low (Group 3) or high (Group 4) rates of TT; macaques observed to exhibit both TT and SDD (Group 5); and macaques observed to exhibit neither (Group 6). These individuals were then observed for six 5-minute intervals. During this study, those selected for Groups 3 and 4 never exhibited any SDD. Of the subjects selected for Groups 1 and 2, 40% exhibited some TT. Of those selected for Group 5, 60% performed only TT, 20% did both, and 20% did neither. Subjects who had threatened exclusively with toys continued to do so. These results show all transitions in threat displays were from self-directed to object-directed displays, indicating that such enrichment objects may have a therapeutic function.