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Environmental enrichment for New World primates: introducing food-irrelevant objects and direct and secondary effects

By M. J. Renner, A. J. Feiner, M. G. Orr, B. A. Delaney

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This study examined methods of environmental enrichment for zoo animals for 4 New World primate species: pygmy and Geoffrey's marmosets (Cebuella pygmaea and Callithrix geoffroyi), red-bellied tamarins (Saguinus labiatus), and golden- headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelus). Subjects were housed in groups at the Philadelphia Zoo. Baseline behavioral time budget data were collected, and stimulus objects were then introduced in succession to each enclosure. Each object included multiple manipulable subcomponents. Time budget data were collected while objects were in the enclosures, and subjects' contacts with objects were videotaped. Overall time budgets were significantly altered in only the red-bellied tamarins, the least active of the species, solely due to a shift from social grooming to passive social contact; when categories were collapsed into broader categories, this effect disappeared. Object contact occurred within the 1st hr for all species and ranged over nearly 2 orders of magnitude, from approximately 10 sec per subject (red-bellied tamarins) to approximately 700 sec per subject (Geoffrey's marmosets). Habituation was not evident within any 1st hr of observation but was shown when 1st hr observations were compared with those from subsequent days. This article discusses implications for environmental enrichment in zoos.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 23-32
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705 (Print), 1532-7604 (Online)
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0301_3
Language English
Author Address Department of Psychology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Enrichment
  7. Environment
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Primates
  11. vertebrates
  12. Zoo and captive wild animals
  1. peer-reviewed