Abstract # 57:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: EXPLORING COGNITIVE ENRICHMENT IN TAMARINS

T. Mueller1,2 and O. Ortiz1,2
1University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology, MSC 1040-01, ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87131, USA, 2New Mexico BioPark and Rio Grande Zoo
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     Callitrichids and prosimians are often overlooked when designing and implementing cognitive enrichment, with much more research focused on apes. This present study aims to explore the use of cognitive enrichment for tamarins, specifically golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) at the Rio Grande Zoo. This study utilized a novel puzzle box, originally designed for species such as spider monkeys and wolf’s guenons, as a way to elicit insect predation. The puzzle box was stocked with crickets and given twice a week for three months, for fifteen minutes a session. During this time, interest never diminished, with females interacting with the box significantly more than males (ANOVA, p=0.000 over 30 sessions). Furthermore, overall anxiety, as measured by frequency of alarm calling, decreased for the entire group following sessions with the puzzle box (ANOVA, p=0.003). This effect lasted for the remainder of the day. These results indicate that we need to “think outside the box’” when designing and implementing enrichment programs, focusing on providing cognitive enrichment not just to apes, but to the entire order.