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Enhancing nonhuman primate care and welfare through the use of positive reinforcement training

By G. Laule, M. Whittaker

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Nonhuman primates are excellent subjects for the enhancement of care and welfare through training. The broad range of species offers tremendous behavioral diversity, and individual primates show varying abilities to cope with the stressors of captivity, which differ depending on the venue. Biomedical facilities include small single cages, pair housing, and breeding corrals with large social groups. Zoos have social groupings of differing sizes, emphasizing public display and breeding. Sanctuaries have nonbreeding groups of varying sizes and often of mixed species. In every venue, the primary objective is to provide good quality care, with minimal stress. Positive reinforcement training improves care and reduces stress by enlisting a primate's voluntary cooperation with targeted activities, including both husbandry and medical procedures. It can also improve socialization, reduce abnormal behaviors, and increase species-typical behaviors. This article reviews the results already achieved with positive reinforcement training and suggests further possibilities for enhancing primate care and welfare.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 31-38
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888700701277311
Language English
Author Address Active Environments, 7651 Santos Road, Lompoc, CA 93436,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Enrichment
  7. Mammals
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Primates
  10. Reviews
  11. Socialization
  12. training of animals
  13. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed