Lee, S., Su, H. 2009. Applications of positive reinforcement training in captive orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and Taiwanese macaques (Macaca cyclopsis). American Journal of Primatology 71(S1), 34. (32nd Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #16)
PRT is a good way of shaping the behavior of captive animals and doing so can make the animals less stressed to promote their well being. PRT is commonly used by captive animal organizations in many countries, but not in Taiwan. In this study we used PRT to train orangutans [n = 5] and Taiwanese macaques [n = 5] in captivity to take shots, to evaluate the effectiveness of PRT in shaping their behavior. Training took place in their original enclosure without putting any restrictions on them before the training. All animals were successfully trained to display behaviors that they were rewarded for doing. These two species accepted injection on different part of the limb. There was no significant difference in time required to train these two primate species for injection [Mann-Whitney U test, =0.05], which took about 450 minutes in total. These results show that orangutans and Taiwanese macaques can be trained by PRT. They also confirm that the PRT techniques described in this study are a feasible method for training these two primate species. The results also suggest that the cognitive ability of Taiwanese macaques is not different from that of orangutans, in terms of the learning ability shown in this study. PRT is a cost effective strategy to promote in all captive animal organizations in Taiwan.