Abstract # 5993 Event # 86:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 11:10 AM-11:25 AM: Session 13 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


FACTORS INFLUENCING THE RESPONSE OF SINGLY HOUSED RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA) TO HUMAN INTERACTION

K. C. Baker
Tulane National Primate Res. Center, 18703 Three Rivers Rd., Covington, LA 70433, USA
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     The response of caged laboratory primates to people may be an underutilized metric for well-being. The response to the offer of food treats from unfamiliar people was documented in 255 singly-housed adult rhesus macaques born in breeding groups at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, 222 assigned to research protocols and 33 housed in the same manner but not undergoing research procedures. Three response characteristics were recorded: treat acceptance, retreat to the upper back corner of the cage and attempts to flee. Among animals caged 12-48 months, there was a trend toward a smaller percentage of research subjects accepting the treat (45%) than other individuals (78%; ? 2=3.67, p=.06); no difference was found with shorter tenure. When tenure was less than 12 months, more research subjects retreated (57% vs. 19%; ?2=5.41, p=.02); only research subjects retreated after 12 months. Only research subjects (4%) fled; this response occurred only among subjects caged for over 12 months. A subset of research subjects received five extra minutes/week of treat feeding/human interaction due to a history of abnormal behavior. No individuals receiving intervention fled and fewer retreated in comparison to subjects not receiving this intervention (11% vs 35%; ?2=4.86, p=.03). Relatively high levels of potentially stressful procedures or activity in research rooms may hinder habituation to people, suggesting that focused intervention is necessary for reducing fear and improving well-being.