Abstract # 3120 Poster # 157:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 23 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


ESTABLISHING A POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IN NEOTROPICAL PRIMATES: A COMPARISON OF SQUIRREL AND OWL MONKEYS

J. R. Rogge, K. D. Sherenco, R. Malling, E. Thiele, S. J. Schapiro, S. P. Lambeth and L. E. Williams
Michael E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA
line
     

To enhance the psychological well-being of non-human primates, many biomedical facilities use positive reinforcement training (PRT) techniques to encourage voluntary participation in husbandry and clinical procedures. PRT increases the animal’s control over its environment and desensitizes the animal to stressful stimuli. However, the amount of published literature on PRT in Neotropical primates is limited. It may be perceived that Neotropical primates cannot be trained as successfully as Old World monkeys and great apes. We present initial PRT data from owl monkeys (Aotus N=17) and squirrel monkeys (Saimiri N=13), including length of time to train subjects to (1) target and (2) present hand, which are just two of many initial behaviors that can be used to aid in health inspection and treatment. Both owl and squirrel monkeys successfully learned to target (Sessions: Aotus 4.3±1.9, Saimiri 1.6±0.8), and Mann-Whitney U test results indicate that squirrel monkeys learned to target significantly faster. Again, both owl squirrel monkeys learned to present hand (Sessions: Aotus 3.7±2.3, Saimiri 1.9±1.7), however Mann-Whitney U test results indicate no significant species difference. The average lengths of training sessions were 9.4±2.8 min for owl monkeys and 9.2±3.7 min for squirrel monkeys. These data demonstrate not only that it is possible to establish a PRT program with Neotropical primates, but also that owl monkeys may require slightly greater training investments to learn simple behaviors.