An Objective Evaluation of Nonhuman Primate Same-Sex Pair Housing as an Environmental enrichment Technique in a Biomedical Reserach Facility
Kobayashi, Kristen A.
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The nonhuman primate (NHP) is an ideal model for research on human health and disease, not only because of its physiological similarities to humans, but also because of the social context in which both groups have evolved. Recently, there has been a greater concern for the social needs of NHPs in captivity. As government regulations become more extensive, especially regulations concerning environmental enrichment, research facilities will have to comply with higher standards. Currently, a concerted effort is underway to provide greater environmental enrichment opportunities through social housing in many research facilities, in order to increase the psychological well-being of the NHP. In the future, this type of environmental enrichment will probably be legally required. This study was conducted on cynomolgus macaques, Macaca jascicuiaris, in a biomedical research facility. The research focused on comparing species-typical, species-atypical, and neutral behaviors before and after same-sex pair housing. Frequencies of behaviors were recorded on a behavior checksheet. This data showed a significant increase in species-typical behaviors and a significant decrease in species-atypical and neutral behaviors. For this reason, the data were not consistent with the null hypothesis which states no change occurred. The data suggest that pair housing had a positive influence on the captive nonhuman primates and that same-sex pair housing is an effective environmental enrichment technique.