Wake Forest University . Information Regarding Nonhuman Primate Natural History, Behavior, Reproduction, Environmental Enrichment, Special Cases. Introduction.
Information Regarding Nonhuman Primate Natural History, Behavior, Reproduction, Environmental Enrichment, Special Cases
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Why is this training important?
Important Note: No images contained herein were taken at Wake Forest University School of Medicine unless otherwise indicated.
Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s conducts research with four Old World species of monkeys.
The terms “Old World” and “New World” refer to the species’ place of origin
“Old World” monkeys are native to Africa and Asia
“New World” monkeys are native to southern Mexico, Central America and South America.
African Green monkeys (Chlorocebusethiops)
Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta)
Cynomolgus monkey(Macaca fascicularis)
Bonnet monkey (Macaca radiata)
Old World monkeys share several common physical features:
Quadrapedal – walk on all fours
Cheek pouches for food storage in the mouth
Opposable thumb – enables grasping
Large canine teeth and sharp fingernails
Non-prehensile tail – used for balance rather than grasping objects or substrates
Ischial callosities - hairless, callused areas on either side of the rump used for sitting (also called butt pads)
Sexual dimorphism – males are bigger in size than females
Macaques and Vervet monkeys are omnivorous—they consume both plant and animal material. In fact, Vervet monkeys are the most omnivorous of all primate species. Their diet may consist of the following:
Females typically begin cycling around 2.5 yrs of age, but may begin as early as 1.5 yrs.
Early weaning can result in psychological problems and inadequate development of social and maternal skills.
Juveniles become sexually mature at 3 to 4 years of age.
Females have sex skin – genital areas (also sometimes face and arms) turn red and swollen around ovulation; signals males to their receptiveness to mating. (Note: Vervet and bonnet monkeys do not have sex skin.)
Gestation lasts between 5 – 6 months.
Infants are nursed between 10 and 12 months, and weaning occurs around 12 months old.
Which of the following species ARE NOT housed at WFUSM?
A. African Green monkeysB. ChimpanzeesC. Rhesus monkeysD. Cynomolgus monkeys
Most of their communication is done through facial signals and vocalizations. There are several types of facial signals for communication.
Open mouth threat: mouth opens and forms the shape of an “O”
Threat yawn:tilting head back while opening mouth wide, exposing the teeth
A direct stare—to Old World monkeys, such as macaques and vervets, direct eye contact is a sign of aggression
Shaking an object in the environment, such as the cage door
Other Threatening Displays:
Charging with the intent to fight
Raising eyebrows quickly and repeatedly
Piloerection: hair stands on end
Slapping the ground
Flapping the ears
Please click on the links to listen to samples and to view videos:
Which of the following is NOT a threatening behavior?
A. StaringB. YawningC. Lip smackingD. Piloerection
Laboratory primates are not pets. They are wild animals and should be respected.
Because eye contact is interpreted by monkeys as a sign of aggression, avoid staring directly into a monkey’s face.
Respect the physical space of monkeys by not putting your hands into their caging or standing too close to their caging.
Like humans, monkeys have comfort zones for proximity to others.
Unsolicited touching or attempts at petting may be interpreted as aggression and the monkey may respond aggressively in return.
If a monkey is acting fearfully or aggressively towards a human by displaying threats, vocalizations, or making physical contact, the proper way to respond is to avert your gaze, step out of reach, and IGNORE the undesirable behaviors.
If your job requires working closely with a monkey who is acting aggressively, ask for help from your supervisor.
It is NEVER acceptable to attempt to punish a monkey’s inappropriate behavior by staring, returning threats, becoming physical, or using other measures of punishment such as the squeeze bar or water hose.
Any overt aggression or punishment will be subject to disciplinary action.
If you ever witness inappropriate treatment of a monkey or questionable research procedures:
1. Report it to your supervisor immediately.
2. Make an anonymous report to the Animal Care and Concern Hotline at 716-5899.
3. Make an anonymous report to the Research Concern Hotline at 716-0338.
The best way to respond to a monkey who is acting aggressively is to:
A. Stare them downB. Yell at them and slap the cageC. Ignore the behavior and take a time-outD. Distract them with treats
Question: What is Environmental Enrichment?
Environmental Enrichment is defined as changes made to the environment and husbandry practices that provide the opportunity for choice and the expression of species-typical behavior.
Question: Why is Environmental Enrichment important?
Congress responded to public concern for animals used in research by passing the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and 1978. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopted the act as regulations in 1991, it required that “dealers, exhibitors, and research facilities must develop, document, and follow an appropriate plan for environmental enhancement adequate to promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates”.
To assess psychological well-being, we need to address the following criteria:
The Wake Forest University Plan for Nonhuman Primate Environmental Enrichment seeks to facilitate psychological well-being by implementing five major types of enrichment:
Examples follow . . .
Milk crates and surgical tubing serve as swings, perches, and food puzzles.
Various swings made from
fire hose and PVC tubing;
the barrel serves as a swing,
shelter, and hiding place.
Wooden cable spools offer shelter,
a hiding place, and area for climbing;
monkeys also enjoy gnawing wood.
To reduce and manage social conflict, each cage must be equipped so that monkeys can escape the aggressive displays of others. In a social setting, barrels make very good hiding places.
Monkeys who are housed individually in cages must also have a way to avoid eye contact with other monkeys housed in the same room.
Visual barriers offer individually housed monkeys the option of privacy. Visual barriers attach to the front of the cage, where the monkey can choose to sit behind it.
Examples follow . . .
Some examples of foraging devices that can be loaded with food:
PVC food puzzle
Holee Molee ball
Foraging turf board
In addition to devices, natural food itemscan provide the opportunity for foraging.
Like human primates, monkeys enjoy a wide variety of foods and novel treats. There are several online nonhuman primate recipe resources, such as The Cattarhine Café Cookbook, created by Washington National Primate Research Center.
This recipe collection can be found online at http://www.wanprc.org/wanprc/cookbook-forExternal.pdf
In the wild, monkeys spend a majority of their time engaged in which behavior:
A. ReproductionB. Fighting C. GroomingD. Foraging for food
In some cases, monkeys may participate in daily experimental sessions. This may involve manipulating joysticks, response levers, or making operant responses to obtain food pellets. After initial training, it is clear that such rewarded responses contribute to psychological well-being.
Other types of sensory enrichment include:
Macaques are skillful swimmers. Here are pictures of macaques enjoying a swimming pool.
Plastic Sand Box
Livestock Water Tank
Object enrichment includes durable, manipulable objects such as mirrors, plastic balls, cone-shaped rubber toys, and gnawing sticks that are safe to be used by monkeys.
Objects should be rotated at least every two weeks to maintain novelty and should be replaced when worn or damaged.
Monkeys are social animals. As such, living with an animate, responsive mate is the best form of environmental enrichment.
Group and pair housing reduces boredom and anxiety and facilitates expression of a wider range of species-typical behaviors.
Monkeys who are socially housed develop better coping skills and are less likely to display abnormal and self-injurious behaviors.
Individually housed monkeys should be provided increased environmental enrichment, and visual, auditory, and olfactory contact with other monkeys via close caging, a mesh cage divider, or grooming panel.
While monkeys generally adapt well to living in captivity, some monkeys develop abnormal and sometimes self-injurious behaviors.
Behaviors that may be considered abnormal are:
Step 2: The veterinarian will conduct a physical exam and if there are no biological bases for the behavior of concern, the EEC will conduct an initial assessment in concert with the enrichment contact person designated in the Nonhuman Primate Environmental SOP protocol.
Step 1: Any abnormal or detrimental behaviors exhibited by a monkey should be recorded on a daily log sheet and reported first to a veterinary staff member and then to the Environmental Enrichment Coordinator (EEC) within the ARP.
Step 4: As determined by the EEC, the contact person, and/or the consulted parties, an enrichment regimen may be individually prescribed and carried out by the investigator’s lab. The EEC and contact person will monitor the success or failure of the enrichment strategy and take part in any necessary adjustments to that strategy.
Step 3: After the assessment, the EEC will determine whether the behaviors of concern require an additional evaluation by a veterinary staff member or by a behavioral primatologist and will coordinate those evaluations.
Which of the following behaviors is considered abnormal?
A. Depressed behaviorB. Self-directed aggression C. Hair pulling or overgroomingD. All of the above
Monkeys are social animals. The best form of environmental enrichment is:
A. Food enrichmentB. Structural enrichment C. Object enrichmentD. Social enrichment
Any observations of abnormal behaviors should be reported to:
A. Your supervisorB. A veterinary staff member C. The Environmental Enrichment Coordinator (EEC)D. All of the above
Important Contact Information:
Environmental Enrichment Coordinator (EEC) 716-1506
ARP-Bowman Gray Campus 713-7394
ARP-Friedberg Campus 716-1620
ARP-Downtown Campus 713-1171
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