Abstract # 31:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010 04:45 PM-05:15 PM: Session 10 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


B. C. White
Centre College, Psychobiology Program, 600 W. Walnut St., Danville, KY 40422, USA

Nearly all of the woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha) imported into the United States were brought here for the pet trade. When given to zoos, former pets were poor breeders. In the mid 1980s, Louisville and Los Angeles Zoos purchased a captive raised group of five females from Scotland to breed with an existing male. Our studies began with this group for the purpose of identifying behavioral correlates of cortisol excretion, which could shed light on stress as a potential cause of their hypertension. Social behaviors correlated well with cortisol excretion, revealing a particular vulnerability of adult females (North American Woolly Monkey Studbook, Supplement 1988). High urinary cortisol in captive females may be related to social events that occur when females disperse in natural groups. We also studied other behaviors. A systematic study of bird predation demonstrated a unique preference for fiber (Stearns et al., 1988), later reported in a wild population. We found chest rubbing was correlated with mating (White et al., 2000). Subsequently, the same relationship was reported in natural groups. When a captive bachelor group was formed, the spacing adjustments were similar to those reported for adult males in their natural habitat (White et al., 2003), where related males stay in their natal groups. These studies suggest that a wide range of important natural behaviors can be identified and successfully investigated in captive settings.