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Strepsirrhine Primate Training Programs in North American Institutions: Status and Implications for Future Welfare Assessment

By G. Fernández-Lázaro, M. H. Dye, C. Eddie, G. M. Ferrie

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Many articles have shown the benefits of operant conditioning training techniques in the care and welfare of several species of nonhuman primates; however, the information regarding their use in strepsirrhine species is scarce. We assessed the development and current status of training programs with these species in North American institutions. An online survey was distributed through members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums using a multiple-choice format. We collected information related to training program details; animals, behaviors, and techniques; the evaluation process; and the impact of training. Seventy-one organizations completed the survey, with the results showing that 97% of respondents trained their strepsirrhines with the main objective of husbandry and veterinary care (around 80%). Sixty-eight percent of organizations did not report any risk in training these species. The benefits reported include increases in positive human-animal interactions (97%), psychological well-being (88%), and staff awareness of animal behaviors (90%). However, a multi-dimensional approach to measure the efficacy of training could provide a deeper understanding of its impact on the welfare of strepsirrhine primates. We hope that the data offered in this survey can help in this future assessment.

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 11
Issue 8
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani11082462
Author Address Animal Welfare Research Group and Friends of Thoreau Program, Franklin Institute, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28801 Madrid, Spain.Didactic Department of Experimental, Social and Mathematical Science, Faculty of Education, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain.Duke Lemur Center, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Omaha, NE 68107, USA.Disney's Animals, Science and Environment, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Conflict
  3. Lemurs
  4. open access
  5. operant conditioning
  6. Primates
  7. training
  1. open access