Worlein, J. M., Kroeker, R., Lee, G. H. et al. 2018. Behavioral and physiological outcomes in nursery-reared pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina). American Journal of Primatology 80(S1), 34 (40th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #92).
The Infant Primate Research Laboratory at the Washington National Primate Research Center incorporates a number of rearing techniques aimed at assuring the welfare and enhancing behavioral outcomes for infants reared in the nursery. We recently instituted full‐time peer group social housing at 2 months of age (n = 12) and assessed the impact on behavioral development compared to our older socialization method which began full‐time housing at 6 months of age (n = 14). Data were gathered when animals were juveniles, housed together in large social groups. We found no significant differences between the two groups and neither group exhibited excessive clinging or aberrant behavior. We also compared the behavior of nursery‐reared (n = 12) and mother‐reared (n = 12) young adult females housed in groups at our Arizona breeding facility. The only significant behavioral difference was that nursery‐reared animals spent more time drinking (p = 0.002). Comparison of hair cortisol levels between nursery‐reared (n = 18) and mother‐reared (n = 48) infants revealed that hair cortisol was significantly lower in nursery‐reared animals during the first year of life (p = 0.001). However, there were no significant hair cortisol differences between nursery‐reared (n = 12) and mother‐reared (n = 12) young adult females (p>0.05). These data indicate that nursery‐reared animals can evince normal behavioral repertoires when housed in groups and differences in cortisol between nursery‐ and mother‐reared animals seems to be transient. Funded by P51 OD010425 and R24OD01180‐15.