An assessment of gum-based environmental enrichment for captive gummivorous primates
Article first published online: 19 APR 2010
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Volume 30, Issue 1, pages 71–78, January/February 2011
How to Cite
Huber, H. F. and Lewis, K. P. (2011), An assessment of gum-based environmental enrichment for captive gummivorous primates. Zoo Biol., 30: 71–78. doi: 10.1002/zoo.20321
- Issue published online: 11 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 19 APR 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 24 FEB 2010
- Manuscript Received: 14 SEP 2009
In the wild, many primates consume gums exuded from trees, and many species are gum specialists. In spite of this, few data exist concerning gum feeding in captivity. Using a web-based survey of 46 zoos in 12 countries, we evaluated the extent to which zoos feed gum to primates. We found that although callitrichids and galagos receive gum-based enrichment, cercopithecines generally do not. Environmental enrichment is important for stimulating naturalistic behavior to promote the psychological wellbeing of animals. Thus, gum-based enrichment is important for captive gummivores. Our study highlights the need to improve environmental enrichment for captive gummivores, in particular that of cercopithecines. This is most striking for the patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), an obligate gummivore. The exchange of ecological data between field research and captive settings is crucial, and is just one way primate caretakers can contribute to the conservation and welfare of some of our closest living relatives. Zoo Biol 30:71–78, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.