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Social housing of non-human primates in a research facility: socialisation across macaque species and sexes

By A. Rehrig, L. DiVincenti, L. A. Schery

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Refinement of social housing practices is paramount to improving animal welfare in laboratory environments, especially with regard to non-human primates. Even though social housing of the same species should be considered the optimal paradigm, cynomolgus ( Macaca fascicularis) and rhesus macaques ( Macaca mulatta) share similar communication styles making inter-species, opposite sex socialisation a viable approach to providing social enrichment. This paper describes social housing a male cynomolgus macaque, which underwent a routine orchiectomy prior to pairing, with a female rhesus macaque for the purpose of providing social interaction for animals that otherwise would have been single housed. Once paired, the primates exhibited behaviours indicative of compatibility, including mounting, lip smacking, grooming, co-threatening and choosing to remain in close proximity. Social housing also ameliorated abnormal behaviour (eg pacing, self-directed fur-plucking) in the female macaque. Neutering male macaques, mixed-species pairing and opposite sex socialisation are all valid options for reducing the number of individually housed primates in research facilities.

Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 387-389
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Publisher Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
DOI 10.7120/09627286.23.4.387
Language English
Author Address University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 674, Rochester, NY 14642,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal housing
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Compatibility
  7. Enrichment
  8. Grooming
  9. Macaques
  10. Mammals
  11. Monkeys
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Primates
  14. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed