Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Lori Sheeran

Second Committee Member

Clay Arango

Third Committee Member

Mary Lee Jensvold

Abstract

SINGLE AND PAIR HOUSED CHACMA BABOONS’ (PAPIO URSINUS) RESPONSE TO

CAREGIVERS’ USE OF SPECIES-SPECIFIC BEHAVIOR

By Josefine Holm

May 2018

ABSTRACT

Most captive primates suffer from stereotypical or abnormal behavior which can be reduced by implementing enrichment protocols. There is, however, often spatial or economic limitations to facilities’ enrichment programs, and implementing the most beneficial and cost-effective enrichment is therefore crucial to ensure the best welfare for captive primates. Social enrichment has been designated as the most effective type of enrichment, but often captive primates cannot be housed in social groups. Through this study, I wanted to determine if species-specific behavioral interactions between human caregivers and captive chacma baboons (Papio ursinus)would alter the baboons’ behaviors, and if these interactions could be used as social enrichment. I conducted this study with single and pair housed adult chacma baboons at The Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E) in South Africa. I observed one single housed male, one single housed female and two pair-housed females during this study. I trained caregivers at C.A.R.E in species-specific interactions during daily husbandry interactions, feeding the baboons, handing out enrichment and cleaning their enclosures. The caregivers used human and baboon species-specific vocalizations, facial expressions, postures and movements during the interactions in three different conditions, one of which included the caregivers spending an extra 20-minutes interacting with the baboons. I compared the behaviors of the baboons in these three conditions to behaviors I observed in a neutral condition before any training of the caregivers. My study showed that these species-specific interactions positively affected the occurrence and duration of grouped and individual affiliative, agonistic/stereotypic and neutral behaviors of the four baboons, in particular the use of baboon-specific behaviors and the implementation of extra affiliative interaction between caregiver and baboon affected the baboons’ behaviors. The majority of the change, however, seemed to differ between the neutral condition and any other conditions, which suggests that the training of caregivers had the greatest effect on the baboons’ behaviors and therefore should be implemented in future enrichment protocols for the four baboons. My study also indicates that interactions during everyday husbandry tasks such as feeding the baboons and cleaning their enclosure has potential to be used as social enrichment. I suggest that future husbandry and enrichment protocols for these four baboons should emphasize the importance of caregiver interactions. In addition to providing caregivers with knowledge of the importance of these interactions, the management at C.A.R.E should strive to incorporate time for extra affiliative interactions between caregivers and baboons. My results also show individual differences in response to caregiver condition, so attention should be given to the four baboons’ individual life histories, enclosure layout, familiarity to caregivers and individual preferences when incorporating this into the future husbandry protocol. My study suggests that small changes in everyday interactions between caregivers and baboons can be used as social enrichment and provide a positive and cost-effective way to increase the wellbeing of these four baboons while they are held in captivity.

SINGLE AND PAIR HOUSED CHACMA BABOONS’ (PAPIO URSINUS) RESPONSE TO

CAREGIVERS’ USE OF SPECIES-SPECIFIC BEHAVIOR

By Josefine Holm

May 2018

ABSTRACT

Most captive primates suffer from stereotypical or abnormal behavior which can be reduced by implementing enrichment protocols. There is, however, often spatial or economic limitations to facilities’ enrichment programs, and implementing the most beneficial and cost-effective enrichment is therefore crucial to ensure the best welfare for captive primates. Social enrichment has been designated as the most effective type of enrichment, but often captive primates cannot be housed in social groups. Through this study, I wanted to determine if species-specific behavioral interactions between human caregivers and captive chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) would alter the baboons’ behaviors, and if these interactions could be used as social enrichment. I conducted this study with single and pair housed adult chacma baboons at The Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E) in South Africa. I observed one single housed male, one single housed female and two pair-housed females during this study. I trained caregivers at C.A.R.E in species-specific interactions during daily husbandry interactions, feeding the baboons, handing out enrichment and cleaning their enclosures. The caregivers used human and baboon species-specific vocalizations, facial expressions, postures and movements during the interactions in three different conditions, one of which included the caregivers spending an extra 20-minutes interacting with the baboons. I compared the behaviors of the baboons in these three conditions to behaviors I observed in a neutral condition before any training of the caregivers. My study showed that these species-specific interactions positively affected the occurrence and duration of grouped and individual affiliative, agonistic/stereotypic and neutral behaviors of the four baboons, in particular the use of baboon-specific behaviors and the implementation of extra affiliative interaction between caregiver and baboon affected the baboons’ behaviors. The majority of the change, however, seemed to differ between the neutral condition and any other conditions, which suggests that the training of caregivers had the greatest effect on the baboons’ behaviors and therefore should be implemented in future enrichment protocols for the four baboons. My study also indicates that interactions during everyday husbandry tasks such as feeding the baboons and cleaning their enclosure has potential to be used as social enrichment. I suggest that future husbandry and enrichment protocols for these four baboons should emphasize the importance of caregiver interactions. In addition to providing caregivers with knowledge of the importance of these interactions, the management at C.A.R.E should strive to incorporate time for extra affiliative interactions between caregivers and baboons. My results also show individual differences in response to caregiver condition, so attention should be given to the four baboons’ individual life histories, enclosure layout, familiarity to caregivers and individual preferences when incorporating this into the future husbandry protocol. My study suggests that small changes in everyday interactions between caregivers and baboons can be used as social enrichment and provide a positive and cost-effective way to increase the wellbeing of these four baboons while they are held in captivity.

Available for download on Thursday, August 03, 2023

Share

COinS