Abstract # 51:

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

Assessment of Changes and Additions to an Enrichment Program in Captive Colony of SPF Baboons (Papio Anubis)

E. L. Sheldon1, R. F. Wolf1, M. F. S. X. Novak2 and G. L. White1
1Department of Pathology and Comparative Medicine., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 940 Stanton L. Young Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, USA, 2Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, NICHD, NIH
     Research suggests attention to enrichment items vary with the degree of novelty, and habituation is often rapid. It is unclear what other aspects of behavior are altered by novel forms of enrichment. To study this, 31 baboons (Papio anubis), four animals from each of eight groups (1 group with 3 focals), were randomly selected and exposed to three types of previously-habituated and nine types of novel enrichment. Subjects were 1 to 4 years of age and housed in mixed-sex groups ranging from 3 to 15 animals. Following a one-month baseline period during which the habituated forms of enrichment were withheld, exposure to devices was pseudo-counterbalanced on a rotational schedule 3 days a week for one month. All animals received 20 minutes of exposure to enrichment devices prior to data collection. Data consisted of 5-minute all occurrences of designated behaviors during exposure to both the old and new forms of enrichment. Repeated measures t-tests [a=0.05] indicated significantly more total behavior changes in response to novel forms of enrichment. There were no significant differences in the frequency of fecal painting, play or clinging, but aggression, foraging and grooming all significantly increased in response to the novel forms of enrichment. These data suggest that not all forms of enrichment are created equal. The unexpected increase in aggression emphasizes that care needs to be taken when establishing or changing enrichment processes.