Abstract # 7898 Poster # 20:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


FORMATION OF STABLE RHESUS MACAQUE (MACACA MULATTA) BACHELOR GROUPS FOR FUTURE BREEDING

T. Meeker, J. K. Ramsey, K. Cummings, A. Cerqueda and R. C. Stavisky
Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University, 2409 Taylor Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA
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     The YNPRC routinely introduces novel breeder males to rhesus groups to increase genetic variability, avoid inbreeding, and to decrease the female to male ratio. The following criteria are considered when selecting future breeding males: 1)parentage, 2)MHC characterization, 3)affiliation/aggression levels, and 4)clinical history. Additionally, since male social bonds and breeding competence can both affect reproductive success, we describe two unique strategies employed at Yerkes that enhance these characteristics. Strategy 1 includes removal of sub-adult males (~3yo) from natal groups concurrently with their outgoing, unrelated and compatible resident breeder male(s). Strategy 2 involves removal of juvenile males (~2-3yo) from multiple natal groups, and then introduction to reproductively-experienced adult mentor male(s). Our previous data suggest that it is critical to allow the male groups, in either strategy, at least one year to stabilize prior to the introduction to females. We find that introduction first to small groups of females, usually consisting of a single matriline or a few unrelated females, limit social influences and enables smoother transition to more complex female groups later. Past methods rarely involved a mentorship/bonding phase or transitions into complex breeding groups. Preliminary observations demonstrate that these strategies facilitate male introduction success and decrease overall group unrest. While this is a new management strategy for Yerkes breeding program, we ultimately expect higher reproductive success as a result of more experienced breeder males.