Abstract # 984 Event # 196:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2005 09:15 AM-09:30 AM: Session 14 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation

Comparing training to human interaction as enrichment for captive rhesus monkeys

M. Bloomsmith1, K. Baker2, C. Griffis1, M. Maloney2, K. Neu1, V. Schoof2 and M. Martinez3
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 2Tulane National Primate Research Center, 3The University of Texas
     Interactions with human caregivers have been proposed as a type of environmental enrichment for nonhuman primates, particularly those housed individually. This study compared two types of interactions with humans—positive reinforcement training, and less structured playing/grooming/feeding sessions—to determine whether these interventions were effective in eliciting behavioral improvement in singly-housed rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Twenty-five adult rhesus of both sexes were subjects throughout all phases of this study. A baseline condition was followed by phases (balanced for order) in which the subjects received 6-minutes of training each week, 6-minutes of human interaction each week, or longer periods (20 to 40 minutes) of training each week. A total of 540 hours of videotaped data were collected outside of the times when the training or unstructured interactions were taking place to measure any generalized effects of the interventions on behavior. These data were coded using an instantaneous data sampling technique for 62 behaviors. A multivariate analysis of variance for repeated measures using five behavioral categories (self groom, abnormal, inactivity, affiliative and aggressive) indicated few significant behavioral changes across the four phases of the study. However, levels of aggressive behavior and aggressive vocalizations were reduced in all of the interventive phases, as compared to the baseline phase. Findings can be applied to most effectively manage human and financial resources being applied toward improving the well-being of captive primates.