zoo - SPECIAL SECTION: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR Managing primates...

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SPECIAL SECTION: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 89, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2005 1214 e-mail: avantim@yahoo.com Managing primates in zoos: Lessons from animal behaviour Avanti Mallapur Culture, Cognition and Consciousness Unit, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore 560 012, India The use of animal behaviour in primate husbandry and management is discussed here through two stud- ies conducted on non-human primates in Indian zoos. Abnormal behaviours such as begging from humans, floating limb, self-biting and stereotypic pacing were observed only in omnivorous primates in these two studies. The factors influencing the exhibition of ab- normal behaviours were identified to be group compo- sition and size, enclosure design and rearing history. Methods to reduce and increase proportions of behav- iour pathologies and natural behaviours, respectively, have been suggested. The behaviour of captive non- human primates differs vastly from their free-ranging counter-parts. This difference is primarily because captive environments lack appropriate environmental and social stimuli, which often leads to the develop- ment of bizarre behavioural patterns unique to cap- tive animals, technically referred to as ‘abnormal behaviours’. In this paper, presence of abnormal be- haviours in the behavioural repertoire of a captive primate is used to demonstrate the need for animal behaviour studies to be included in the management strategies towards improved primate husbandry in Indian zoos. Keywords: Abnormal behaviour, primate husbandry, stress, zoos. NON-HUMAN primates, due to their level of intelligence when compared to other animals, and also due to their evolutionary closeness to man are maintained in several types of captive facilities like laboratories, zoological parks, animal circuses and conservation breeding centres. Being popular exhibits, most zoos maintain primates in their collections. In some cases, these zoo primates are maintained in environments, which are unstimulating and sub-optimal 1 . Captive environments such as these bio- logically and spatially restrict the animal from perform- ing its species-specific behaviour. Such an inability to adapt to their artificial surroundings results in the exhibi- tion of behavioural patterns typical to captive animals and are called abnormal behaviours 2 . Today, considerable re- search is focused on zoo primate behaviour 3–5 . A large proportion of these studies focus on abnormal behaviour and the factors that influence them 6–9 . Several environmental factors influence the behaviour of primates in zoos, one of these being enclosure space. Primates housed in unnaturally barren environments or small exhibits, are deprived of appropriate stimuli for the expression of a natural behavioural repertoire 10,11 . It has been observed that animals housed in sub-optimal envi- ronments develop a wide range of abnormal behavioural patterns 12–14 and that those housed in smaller indoor en- closures are less active than those housed in larger out-
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2011 for the course ANTH 204 taught by Professor Buzon during the Fall '10 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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zoo - SPECIAL SECTION: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR Managing primates...

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