Behavioral effects of enrichment on singly-housed, yearling rhesus monkeys: An analysis including three enrichment conditions and a control group

Authors

  • Dr. Steven J. Schapiro,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park, Department of Veterinary Sciences, Bastrop
    • The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park, Department of Veterinary Sciences, Rt. 2, Box 151-Bl, Bastrop, TX 78602
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  • Mollie A. Bloomsmith

    1. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park, Department of Veterinary Sciences, Bastrop
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Abstract

Three cohorts of yearling rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were maintained in single cages for one year as part of a derivation program to produce a breeding colony of specific pathogen-free (SPF) monkeys. During this year of social restriction, subjects were provided with three different types of environmental enrichment (physical, feeding, and sensory) to counteract the known effects of social restriction and to quantify the effects of these different conditions of enhancement on their behavior. Focal animal observations were conducted on enriched and control subjects for all cohorts. Enrichment conditions were presented in a different order to each cohort. Monkeys provided with enrichment spent significantly more time playing and less time self-grooming than did control monkeys in unenriched cages, suggesting that the overall enrichment program was of some benefit to the monkeys, because these changes in behavior were in species-typical directions. Among enriched subjects only, there were significant differences in the amount of time spent drinking, grooming, feeding, playing, exploring, and using enrichment across the three enrichment conditions. Both the physical and feeding enrichment conditions led to species-appropriate changes in behavior, therefore enhancing psychological well-being as some define it. Sensory enrichment was of little benefit. The first cohort was housed indoors, received less stimulation from the environment outside of the single cage, and used enrichment more than did the other two cohorts housed outdoors. This suggests that the external environment influences behavior in the single cage and that enrichment may be most effective for animals housed indoors. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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