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Effects of single-use and group-use enrichment on stereotypy and intragroup aggressive and affiliative behaviors of a social group of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) at the Singapore Zoo

By J. Sha, S. Han, D. Marlena, J. Kee

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Abstract

Four food-based enrichment devices were used to test the effects of single-use and group-use enrichment devices on stereotypy, intragroup aggression, and affiliation in a compatible group of 5 squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus). All enrichment devices were found to reduce overall stereotypic behavior from baseline levels (without enrichment). The occurrence of stereotypic behavior differed between individual squirrel monkeys with an adult female showing the highest level of stereotypic behavior. This individual also showed the highest usage of enrichment devices, and stereotypic behavior was significantly reduced when enrichment was applied. The occurrence of stereotypic behavior did not differ significantly between single-use and group-use enrichment treatments. Higher intragroup aggression and lower affiliation were observed during the provision of enrichment compared with baseline levels. However, aggressive behavior was higher and affiliation lower during single-use enrichment compared with group-use enrichment. The results of this study showed that enrichment had positive effects on alleviating stereotypic behavior in a group of zoo-housed squirrel monkeys and such effects were similar when group-use and single-use enrichment devices were used, but with variations between individuals. The application of enrichment, particularly single-use enrichment devices, elicited higher levels of aggression within the group and lower affiliation. Such effects could curtail the benefits of original enrichment goals as higher intragroup aggression could lead to higher stress levels within the group. When food-based enrichment for social nonhuman primates is implemented, the most appropriate methods to alleviate undesirable behavior without additional negative effects such as increased group aggression should be considered.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 15
Issue 4
Pages 358-371
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2012.709148
Language English
Author Address Wildlife Reserves Singapore, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826, Singapore.john.sha@wrs.com.sg
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Tags
  1. Aggression
  2. Aggressive behavior
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal diseases
  5. Animal rights
  6. Animals
  7. Animal welfare
  8. APEC countries
  9. ASEAN Countries
  10. Asia
  11. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  12. Commonwealth of Nations
  13. Developing countries
  14. Effect
  15. Enrichment
  16. Goals
  17. Mammals
  18. Monkeys
  19. objectives
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. Primates
  22. Singapore
  23. Stress
  24. targets
  25. Threshold Countries
  26. vertebrates
  27. Zoo and captive wild animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed