Mirrors as environmental enrichment for African green monkeys

Authors

  • Heather G. Harris,

    Corresponding author
    1. Animal Resources Program, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    • Animal Resources Program, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157-0001
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  • Amanda J. Edwards

    1. Animal Resources Program, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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Abstract

Stainless steel circular mirrors were employed in an enrichment plan for 105 singly housed male African green monkeys. We observed 25 randomly selected males to measure mirror use and to assess the mirrors' effectiveness as an enrichment item. We conducted additional mirror-use surveys on all 105 males using fingerprint accumulation as an indicator (rated on a scale of 0 to 4). Use was defined as either being in contact with the mirror (contact use (CU)) or looking directly into the mirror without contact (non-contact use (NC)). Mirror-use data were collected 10 months after the initial introduction of the mirrors and again at 16 months. The two time points were compared by paired t-tests. No significant difference in use was found between the two data collection points. On average, the monkeys used the mirrors 5.2% of the total time intervals recorded (approximately 3 min/hr). Results from the five fingerprint-accumulation surveys showed that 102 of 105 males (97%) had CU with their mirrors over the survey points. Based on the sustained use of the mirrors over a 6-month period, we concluded that the mirrors were an effective enrichment tool that the vast majority of our monkeys routinely used. Habituation did not appear to occur even a year after the mirrors were introduced. Am. J. Primatol. 64:459–467, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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