Abstract # 178:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 09:30 AM-09:45 AM: Session 16 (North Main Hall E) Symposium

An Analysis of Efforts to Integrate Science and Behavioral Management of Zoo Primates

K. Lukas1 and C. Kuhar2
1Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA, 2Disney's Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL
     Zoo professionals made the call to integrate science into the management of primates decades ago (Maple & Finlay, 1989) and they continue to scrutinize the success of such efforts (Lukas, 2003; Mallapur, 2005; Melfi, 2005). The current application of the behavioral sciences to zoo primate management spans from operant conditioning training, welfare assessments, and basic behavior studies to analyses of visitor behavior and primate exhibitry that address questions within the field of conservation psychology. The link between conducting behavioral research in zoos and improving the management of zoo primates, however, could be strengthened. For example, although two decades of research support the beneficial effects of environmental enrichment on improving species-typical behavior in zoos, it is not clear that the practices are as widely and successfully implemented and evaluated as they should be, given the state of knowledge in this area. Some mechanisms exist for increasing the likelihood that the latest scientific findings are integrated into zoo management practices, including the development of Standardized Guidelines for Animal Care by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Moore et al., 2004). Findings revealed by scientific studies were integrated into the AZA Gorilla Species Survival Plan® Standardized Guidelines to provide direction to zoos in the areas of reproductive management, nutrition, behavior, and veterinary care.