Abstract # 159:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 04:15 PM-04:30 PM: (Cascade H) Oral Presentation


INCREASED VERTICAL CAGE SPACE AS A BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR LOCOMOTOR STEREOTYPY IN LABORATORY-HOUSED MACAQUES

R. U. Bellanca, J. P. Thom, R. Kroeker and J. M. Worlein
Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
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     Locomotor stereotypy is a commonly reported abnormal behavior in captive-housed primates and may take various forms including pacing, back-flipping, and rocking. Increasing cage size and/or complexity has reportedly been met with varying levels of therapeutic success. The purpose of this study was to determine if providing laboratory-housed macaques with additional vertical cage space would reduce the proportion of time they engaged in locomotor stereotypy. The cage design allowed for the removal of half of the upper cage floor, thereby providing the animals with access to both the upper and lower level cages. Subjects were three male Macaca nemestrina (average age 3.6), three female Macaca mulatta (average age 5.1) and two male Macaca mulatta (average age 8.8). Animals were observed for an average of 78 days using an ABA (single cage, increased cage size, return to single cage) design and data were analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA. Subjects showed a significant reduction in locomotor stereotypy when housed in a cage that allowed for additional vertical cage space (F (2, 14) = 12.95, p = 0.001) with stereotypic behavior returning to baseline levels when animals were returned to their standard single-cage housing. These data suggest that providing extra vertical space may provide an effective therapy for primates engaging in this type of abnormal behavior.