How does the complexity and number of enrichment stations influence the occurrence and frequency of atypical behaviors in a colony of captive squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus and S. boliviensis)?
Nine captive squirrel monkeys (S. sciureus and S. boliviensis) at a local zoo exhibited some atypical behaviors such as pacing, head twirling, overgrooming of tails, and scratching. Behavioral observations using scan sampling methods were used to measure effectiveness of different types of enrichment devices based on complexity and number in reducing these atypical behaviors. Data was analyzed using factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc fisher LSD tests. The results revealed a pattern in which scratching, overgrooming, watching, and stereotypical behaviors increased prior to the introduction of enrichment. When enrichment was present these behaviors significantly reduced except for aggression which increased. Post enrichment these behaviors including aggression occurred at high levels. Provision of enrichment is more beneficial to the animals than not introducing enrichment at all. Reducing atypical behaviors requires proper implementation and design of the enrichment devices that incorporate adequate complexity such that species specific behaviors are maintained even after extended contact.
Anatomy & physiology;
0433: Anatomy & physiology
0768: Environmental science