Perlman, J. E., Martin, A. L., Bloomsmith, M. A., 2018. Increases in feeding and destructible enrichment distribution in caged rhesus macaques (Macaques mulatta) provide some behavioral benefits. American Journal of Primatology 80(S1), 19 (40th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #24).
It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental enrichment in meeting behavioral goals (e.g., decreasing abnormal behavior) and in making the best use of limited facility resources (e.g., money, personnel time). One/zero behavioral data on 12 abnormal behaviors were collected on caged rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) thrice weekly during the six months before and after two facility‐wide changes in enrichment distribution. Four behaviors with sufficient expression (stereotypic locomotion, self‐directed stereotypies, eye‐directed, and feces‐related behaviors) were analyzed using Repeated Measures Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests. Following a simultaneous fresh produce distribution increase from two/three times weekly to five times weekly, and destructible enrichment distribution to singly‐housed monkeys from once to twice weekly, 74% of (N = 111) animals who displayed stereotypic locomotion at least once during the pre‐change period showed a decrease in that behavior (Z = −4.53, p < .001). Following a later increase in foraging opportunities from four/five times weekly to seven times weekly, 65% of (N = 184) animals showed a decrease in stereotypic locomotion (Z = −3.88, p < .001), 74% showed a decrease in other self‐directed stereotypies (N = 27, Z = −2.55, p =.011), and 81% showed a decrease in fecal‐related behaviors (N = 47, Z = −3.27, p =.001). Behavioral improvements indicate that more frequent provision of feeding and destructible enrichment can moderate certain types of abnormal behavior.