Coursodon, P., Cox, L., Largent-Milnes, T. M. et al. 2018. Enhanced environmental enrichment strategies for retired rhesus macaques. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 6(2) (June), 41-43.
One challenge in providing enrichment to NHP arises following completion of their assigned studies (retired) when there tends to be a sudden decrease in provision of daily human interaction and overall stimulation that results from having previously been worked with by researchers, often daily. Two, singly housed, adult male Rhesus macaques at the University of Arizona, having completed their respective experiments, became persistently lethargic following retirement. We hypothesized that by adjusting the enrichment schedule to eliminate the now void time frame during the day and by adding innovative enrichment items to the current regiment that engaged all 5 senses, we could restore normal behaviors (e.g., locomotion, water intake, interest in humans, etc.). We evaluated the established environmental enrichment schedule and expanded these activities to create a unique schedule that increased total stimulation (time and type) throughout the day when the lab personnel interaction was removed. We found that this increase in stimuli improved the macaques’ overall wellbeing and interest in their environment. Overall, our data support schedule adjustments for environmental enrichment of nonhuman primates moving to off-study status.