Abstract # 6187 Poster # 178:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


GETTING INVOLVED IN ENRICHMENT: THE STYLE OF CARETAKER-PRIMATE INTERACTION AND RESPONSE OF LABORATORY RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA).

M. C. Carey1,2,3,4, R. J. Mistretta1,2,3,4, B. M. Sullivan1,2,3, A. Lozano3, S. Muhammad1,2, W. L. Wagner3 and J. M. Erwin5
1BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Animal Behavior and Enrichment, Rockville, MD 20852, USA, 2BIOQUAL Inc., Department of Animal Behavior and Enrichment, Research Boulevard., Rockville, MD, USA, 3BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Animal Behavior and Enrichment, Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD, USA, 4BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Animal Behavior and Enrichment, Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD, USA, 5Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052
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The way caretakers interact with nonhuman primates can be a crucial aspect of a behavioral management program. Indeed, there is growing evidence that positive human interaction (PHI) and positive reinforcement training (PRT) can promote behavioral health and the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates. The extent to which a given program utilizes PHI may vary between facilities, but we were afforded the rare opportunity to compare and contrast three styles during a recent merger and transition period. While many aspects of the housing and behavioral management program were analogous across facilities, the carestaff stability and involvement with enrichment varied. Caretaker interaction styles varied from 1) rotating caretakers / minimal PHI, 2) stable caretaker / minimal PHI, and 3) stable caretaker / regular PHI. Matched groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were selected from each facility based on age group and sex, and individual temperaments were separately scored by familiar and unfamiliar observers. Preliminary results indicate a lower (less aggressive) temperament reaction in the Treatment3 (stable caretaker / regular PHI) setting when compared to the other conditions (ANOVA, ntotal= 297, ?=0.05, p<0.0032). The ongoing study seeks to identify which style of caretaker involvement promotes animal’s receptivity to humans. Investigating the role of carestaff and other non-enrichment personnel in ongoing environmental enrichment programs enables facilities to refine behavioral management procedures and promote facility wide investments in animal welfare.