Abstract # 162:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 21 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


M. C. Carey1,2,3, A. M. West1,2,3, B. Diaz2, W. L. Wagner3 and J. M. Erwin4
1BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Primate Psychology, Rockville, MD 20852, USA, 2BIOQUAL Inc., Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD, USA, 3BIOQUAL Inc., Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD, USA, 4Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, Washington, DC
     To promote the psychological well-being of captive non-human primates, facilities develop and implement an “environmental enhancement plan” (Animal Welfare Act, Section 3.81). Enrichment options described in the plan should be selected to demonstrably promote species-typical behaviors. Too often, enrichment choices are based only on anecdotal reports or just what people think might be interesting. That is a start, but a better course is to carefully evaluate use and effectiveness of enrichment objects to enable evidence-based enrichment. To this end, non-disposable feeders were constructed by drilling holes into Manzanita wood (MW), filling them with peanut butter and foraging mix. The disposable feeders were constructed by coating pine-cones (PC) in peanut butter and foraging mix. The colony of adult male rhesus macaques (n=20) were simultaneously provided both MW and PC foraging devices three times a week for three weeks. Observations were recorded for a total of 45 minutes per individual over five weeks (including pre and post-test observations) and frequency of foraging behaviors were scored to determine preference. The null-hypothesis of no difference between mean foraging with disposable and non-disposable enrichment was rejected as the PC devices were used more than three times the MW devices with minimal decline in use across three weeks (PC =8.11±0.058 > MW =2.74±0.057; p<0.0001). Pine-cone feeders appear to be a preferred device to encourage natural foraging behavior in captive rhesus.