Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Mary Lee Jensvold

Second Committee Member

Lori K. Sheeran

Third Committee Member

Heidi Shaw


Caregivers are a primary part of captive monkey environments. When addressing psychological well-being of captive nonhuman primates, social environment should be considered. Chimpanzees, gorillas, New World monkeys, and Old World monkeys responded positively to interactions with caregivers. Some species showed increased affiliative behaviors and decreased abnormal or self-directed behaviors after interactions. These studies showed that caregivers can affect the behavior of nonhuman primates. Caregivers are underutilized as a source of social interaction for captive nonhuman primates. Utilizing species-typical behaviors during interactions, caregivers and nonhuman primates can communicate and interact in different ways that may be beneficial to both caregiver and nonhuman primate. When caregivers utilized species-typical behaviors during interactions with zoo-living chimpanzees and laboratory-living rhesus macaques, all nonhuman primates responded to the change in caregiver behavior. In these studies chimpanzees responded individually, but most showed an increase in affiliative and playful behaviors. In rhesus macaques, all abnormal behaviors significantly decreased. These studies are currently the only that utilize species-typical behaviors during interactions with nonhuman primates. The current study expanded on caregiver usage of species-typical behaviors with captive, sanctuary-living monkeys. Four monkeys (two Macaca mulatta, one Macaca fuscata, one Papio anubis) participated in the study, conducted at Fauna Foundation in Carignan, Quebec, Canada. GoPro cameras recorded caregiver interactions for 16 days. There were two experimental conditions, monkey behavior condition and human behavior condition. In the monkey behavior condition, caregivers interacted using monkey behaviors. In the human behavior condition, caregivers interacted using human behaviors. The researcher coded proximity and body orientation in relation to the front caging, vocalizations, and discrete behaviors. All monkeys showed differences in behavior based on condition. Three monkeys spent significantly more time oriented toward the front caging in the monkey behavior condition. One monkey spent significantly more time within his arm length to the front caging during the monkey behavior condition. Grunting significantly increased during the human behavior condition. One monkey significantly decreased self-biting and displacement behaviors during the monkey behavior condition. Displace object occurred equally in both conditions. This study showed that monkeys respond to caregivers who interact with species-typical behaviors.