Adjustments and adaptations to indoor and outdoor environments: Continuity and change in young adult rhesus monkeys



Optimal environments for captive primates are assumed to be those which simulate certain ecological features and elicit a wide range of species-typical behavior patterns. Outdoor environments are often thought to be more suitable than indoor environments in that they provide more space and potentially higher levels of stimulation. The purpose of this study was to compare the long-term behavioral responses of several groups of animals that had been reared identically during the first two years of life and then exposed to different environments. Two groups were moved into separate “enriched” indoor pens while one group was moved to an outdoor area covering approximately 5 acres. The monkeys were observed during the first year of life and again in these different environments between the ages of 6 and 10. Although behaviorally similar during the first year of life, monkeys developed different response patterns to indoor and outdoor environments. Contrary to commonly held views, indoor monkeys were not more aggressive, nor did they show higher levels of stereotypical behavior. Instead, indoor monkeys exhibited higher levels of grooming, sexual posturing, tactile/oral exploration, and passive visual behavior than their outdoor counterparts. These differences are consistent with the reconciliation model of de Waal. Individual monkeys also showed remarkable stability in certain traits over the 5-year period. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.