Frequently Asked Questions

The vast majority of our nonhuman primate population is housed in large, outdoor enclosures in groups of approximately 30-150 or more monkeys. The Center pioneered social housing of nonhuman primates in the 1970s, when it constructed several 1-2 acre, outdoor corrals.  Today, we have 8 such corrals, and over 50 smaller enclosures.

Other monkeys live indoors, either in small pens of 3-10 or so individuals or in cages. Cages can connect so that two or more compatible monkeys can live together in two or more cages, to which they all have full access.  The ONPRC is committed to socially housing all nonhuman primates unless prohibited by medical concerns or research requirements.  All nonhuman primates are housed in visual and auditory contact with other nonhuman primates.

We currently house about 5,000 nonhuman primates at the ONPRC, the majority of which are rhesus macaques. We also house approximately 300 Japanese macaques and small numbers of other species (cynomolgus macaques, squirrel monkeys and baboons).

An outdoor breeding program ensures that the Oregon National Primate Research Center nonhuman primate population is nearly self-sustaining. The original colony of rhesus macaques, numbering approximately 400, came from India. Today, monkeys not bred at the Center are acquired from other primate facilities in the US.

The Division of Comparative Medicine veterinarians, veterinary technical staff, behavioral staff, animal care technicians, laboratory staff, and administrative support staff are collectively responsible for the physical care and psychological well-being of the NHPs.

Because the Oregon National Primate Research Center's nonhuman primates are kept in excellent health, receive regular veterinary care and enjoy balanced nutrition, they live, on average, significantly longer than their "wild" counterparts in India and China. In addition, there is a focused program to promote their psychological well-being. Surgical and any potentially painful procedures are performed under the same anesthetic and aseptic conditions as human surgery.

The care and treatment of animals is subject to the policies of the Oregon National Primate Research Center and its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Composed of researchers, veterinarians, support staff and members of the community, the IACUC must review and approve all research procedures involving animals and assure that proper anesthesia and analgesia are used in cases that may potentially cause pain or discomfort. The IACUC also ensures that the research being performed is not duplicative, and that it utilizes the fewest possible number of animals. In addition, the committee conducts twice-a-year evaluations of the laboratory animal care and use program and inspects all animal facilities.

The Oregon National Primate Research Center adheres to all National Institutes of Health (NIH) policies regarding animal care and use. The Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) supervises institutions and researchers receiving federal funding. OLAW has established the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals for all publicly funded research, and the Center fully complies with this Policy by the provision of an Animal Welfare Assurance document, which is provided to OLAW every three years. This document fully describes the Center's animal care and use program.

The Oregon National Primate Research Center is regulated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This office implements the Animal Welfare Act & Regulations, and conducts routine, unannounced inspections, normally twice each year, of animal facilities at the Center to ensure compliance.

The Oregon National Primate Research Center has been fully accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International since 1974. A private nonprofit organization promoting the responsible treatment of animals in science through voluntary assessment and accreditation programs, AAALAC International conducts thorough site visits every three years, evaluating programs in terms of overall animal health and well-being. When AAALAC International granted the Oregon National Primate Research Center continuing full, 3-year accreditation in 2016, it commended the Center "…for providing and maintaining an exemplary program of laboratory animal care and use."

Yes! See our Tour page for details.  In an effort to protect the monkeys from infection or other potential illnesses which may be transmitted by humans, access is limited.