What is done for the psychological well-being of the nonhuman primates?
Psychological well-being for the nonhuman primates is described in the ONPRC Behavioral Management Plan. This Plan is revised, at least annually, and is continually reviewed in conjunction with the semiannual evaluation of the animal care and use program.
The Center's Attending Veterinarian has the federally mandated responsibility for implementing the environmental enhancement plan. The ONPRC Behavioral Services Unit is responsible for overseeing the Plan.
Elements in the plan include:
- housing monkeys in social groups whenever possible
- pairing monkeys that live in cages to the extent that is possible without jeopardizing their well-being
- assigning monkeys to research projects as pairs whenever it does not conflict with the aims and methods of the research
- training animal care and research staff in operant conditioning (positive reinforcement such as food treats) to gain the cooperation of monkeys with husbandry and research procedures
- providing every caged monkey an ever-changing variety of toys and devices that can be manipulated
- providing daily fruit and vegetable treats as well as trail mix and grain, either scattered or hidden in puzzle feeders that require foraging activity
- giving special attention to monkeys displaying atypical behavior (in most cases, over-grooming)
- preventing the onset of atypical behaviors by modifying husbandry practices that could cause stress