Abstract # 25:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 11:15 AM-11:30 AM: Session 6 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


K. D. Sherenco, H. Freeman, S. J. Schapiro, S. P. Lambeth and L. E. Williams
Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas 78602, USA

Aotus, the only genus of New World nocturnal monkeys, pose a working challenge for captive behavioral management. Traditionally, owl monkey colonies are housed with a reversed light/dark schedule so that some of the animals’ “active” period occurs during the normal work day. The current study investigated the behavioral and physiological effects of shifting from a 1500 to 0300 dark period, to a 1200 to 2400 dark period. Instantaneous group scan observations were collected twice a day (AM/PM) between November 2009 and April 2010 (n= 176 days) for 136 group-housed owl monkeys. Analyses revealed no significant difference in behavioral activity before and after the light shift suggesting little behavioral stress. However, the animals spent significantly more time in proximity after the light shift (F = 12.678, df = 174, p < 0.001). Hair samples were collected on 26 randomly chosen subjects before and after the light shift to measure the concentration of cortisol levels. Results revealed a significant decrease in cortisol levels from the before (average= 5.0, ± 2.7) condition to the after (average = 1.6, ± 0.9) light shift condition (t = 6.193, df = 25, p?0.000). These initial findings suggest that altering the light/dark schedule to allow more inactive time without the presence of care staff activity decreased the general stress levels in the Aotus without causing major changes in their behavioral profiles.