Abstract # 222:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015 10:00 AM-10:20 AM: (Cascade E) Oral Presentation


L. M. Hopper and S. R. Ross
Lincoln Park Zoo, Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
     Most research with captive primates is designed to answer either a pure or an applied question, but can research address both simultaneously? Only a few studies have evaluated the physical, behavioral or cognitive impacts of behavioral testing on primates – with some revealing welfare benefits of such research – but we propose that much research could incorporate welfare assessments. For example, in a study conducted at Lincoln Park Zoo, a group of chimpanzees was required take tokens to locations at the perimeter their exhibit and exchange them with researchers for differentially-valued food. Furthermore, they had to travel farther to obtain more-preferred rewards. This not only tested the apes’ problem solving (there was no correlation between rank and task acquisition, P > 0.05) and decision making (chimpanzees exchanged more tokens for the better rewards, despite having to walk farther, P = 0.046), but it also encouraged increased locomotion by the chimpanzees. All six chimpanzees traveled more during test sessions, compared to matched control periods (P = 0.028). Thus, this study provided physical enrichment for the subjects – important given concerns about activity levels and related physical health issues for captive apes – and answered questions about their social cognition. We will discuss how future research endeavors can be tailored to provide benefits for primate subjects and describe methods to assess the impact of such behavioral testing.