Rogge, J. R., Sherenco, K. D., Malling, R. et al. 2011. Establishing a positive reinforcement training program in neotropical primates: A comparison of squirrel and owl monkeys. American Journal of Primatology 73(S1), 84. (34th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #157)
To enhance the psychological well-being of non-human primates, many biomedical facilities use positivereinforcement training (PRT) techniques to encourage voluntary participation in husbandry and clinical procedures.PRT increases the animal?s control over its environment and desensitizes the animal to stressful stimuli. However,the amount of published literature on PRT in Neotropical primates is limited. It may be perceived that Neotropicalprimates cannot be trained as successfully as Old World monkeys and great apes. We present initial PRT data fromowl monkeys [Aotus N=17] and squirrel monkeys [Saimiri N=13], including length of time to train subjects to (1)target and (2) present hand, which are just two of many initial behaviors that can be used to aid in health inspectionand treatment. Both owl and squirrel monkeys successfully learned to target [Sessions: Aotus 4.3?1.9, Saimiri1.6?0.8], and Mann-Whitney U test results indicate that squirrel monkeys learned to target significantly faster.Again, both owl squirrel monkeys learned to present hand [Sessions: Aotus 3.7?2.3, Saimiri 1.9?1.7], however Mann-Whitney U test results indicate no significant species difference. The average lengths of training sessions were9.4?2.8 min. for owl monkeys and 9.2?3.7 min. for squirrel monkeys. These data demonstrate not only that it ispossible to establish a PRT program with neotropical primates, but also that owl monkeys may require slightlygreater training investments to learn simple behaviors.