de França Santos, M., de Menezes Galvão, A. C., Santos Silva, F. et al. 2022. Welfare improvement by enrichment programs in common marmoset females under social isolation. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 25(3), 297-309.
Animal welfare is critical to buffer stress in captive animals and to ensure the reliability of data from studies. The most usual environmental enrichment technique (EE) for social non-human primates is the social enrichment. However, some experimental protocols require keeping individuals isolated, thus demanding other types of EE. We tested in six adult Callithrix jacchus females, single housed for experimental purpose, the stress buffering efficacy of a structural enrichment protocol (SEP) and SEP in combination with a foraging enrichment (FSEP) using fecal cortisol and behaviors to infer stress levels. Both types of EE improved welfare in different ways, while cortisol levels decreased with both EE as compared to the baseline, autogrooming, and piloerection increased after FSEP probably due to the new foods. Therefore, these findings support alternative practices of EE when social animals are living in isolation and reinforce the positive role of structural and food enrichment for decreasing stress markers. It also encourages studies on welfare with females, since its use as an animal model has increased.