Abstract # 162:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 04:30 PM-04:45 PM: (Cascade H) Oral Presentation


EFFICACY OF SUPPLEMENTAL ENRICHMENT IN REDUCING SELF-INJURIOUS AND SELF-BITING BEHAVIOR IN RHESUS MACAQUES

B. McCowan1,2, A. Cameron2, A. Day2, L. Tatum2 and D. Hannibal2
1Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2CNPRC, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616
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     Abnormal behaviors such as self-injurious behavior (SIB) and associated self-biting behavior, while relatively rare, represent important individual welfare concerns for laboratory and other captive nonhuman primates. Strategies such as social rearing/housing are key, yet other types of interventions are also frequently used when social housing is either not possible or ineffective. However, the efficacy of these alternative interventions for reducing these behaviors, known as supplemental enrichment (e.g. puzzle balls, shakers), is not always quantified. We therefore conducted an assessment of supplemental enrichment for reducing SIB and self-biting behavior in rhesus macaques. Behavioral data were collected monthly from individuals using 1/0 focal scan sampling from 2004-2014 for a total N=495 subjects. Dates of supplemental enrichment were noted by staff. Mixed-effects negative binomial regression was used with individual as the random effect. Model selection was used to choose models with the lowest AIC value; variables with p values less than 0.05 were considered significant. Supplemental enrichment was effective for reducing self-biting in both single- and pair-housed animals during the period that supplemental enrichment was administered. Supplemental enrichment was not effective for reducing SIB. These results suggest that supplemental enrichment can be a useful strategy for reducing abnormal behaviors such as self-biting but not for SIB. Strategies for reducing SIB should therefore focus on proactive prevention rather than reactive intervention to reduce this behavior in captive primate populations.