Lutz, C. K., Linsenbardt, K. A., Williams, P. C. et al. 2012. Abnormal behavior in captive baboons (Papio hahadryas sp.) American Journal of Primatology 74(S1), 36. (35th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #37)
Abnormal behavior in macaque monkeys has been associated with risk factors such as nursery rearing and single housing. However, less is known about the extent of, and risk factors for, abnormal behavior in baboons. The purpose of this study was to survey the presence of abnormal behavior in captive baboons and to identify potential risk factors. Subjects were 149 baboons (123 females, 26 males) aged 3-29 years (M=12) temporarily singly housed for research or clinical reasons. A 15-minute observation was conducted on each subject using the Observer? program. Both duration and frequency of behaviors were recorded. Abnormal behavior was observed in 26% of the subjects, with active stereotypy (e.g., pace, rock, swing) being the most common. There was no sex or age difference in abnormal behavior. The relative risk of a nursery-reared baboon exhibiting active stereotypy was 4.223 when compared to a mother-reared animal (p<0.001). Active stereotypy was also positively correlated with the number of days singly housed (Spearman: r=0.236, p<0.005) and negatively correlated with age when first singly housed (r=-0.365, p<0.001). Self-directed behavior (e.g., hair pull, self-bite) was positively associated with the number of days singly housed (r=0.203, p<0.05) and the number of blood draws performed on the animal (r=0.195, p<0.05). These results further demonstrate the negative impact of social restriction across species of captive nonhuman primates.