Socialization of Nonhuman Primate Groups

Socialization of Nonhuman Primate Groups


>>Eric Hutchinson: It is my
pleasure now to introduce our next speaker. Steve Schapiro is the chief of
the Section of Primate Behavior at the Keeling Center. He conducts research aimed at
improving the welfare of captive non-human primates and his
group utilizes a comprehensive behavioral management program,
including environmental enrichment,
socialization strategies, and especially positive
reinforcement training techniques to provide the
primates with opportunities to voluntarily participate in
veterinary husbandry and research behaviors. I’m also happy to say that Steve
was one of the first people that taught me how to do
any of this stuff, and so I’m excited
to hear from him now. And without further
ado, Steve Schapiro. [applause]>>Steven Schapiro: Like
the other two speakers said, I’m really happy to be here,
grateful for the invitation, but perhaps I’m a little more
grateful than the other two speakers because my Australian
in-laws are at my house. It’s week number three of five. [laughter] So I’m not the least bit
unhappy to be here from that perspective, as well. [laughter] And if they’re videotaping this,
which I think there was some mention of, maybe that
part won’t get on YouTube. [laughter] I think the rest of my life
would be a little less enjoyable if that happens to
make it to YouTube. But I’ve said it. I’m going to have
to deal with it. That’s the way it is. So I’m the one up here talking. You know, there are many, many
people that have contributed to the work that I’m going
to talk about today. You know, I started at MD
Anderson with Mollie in 1989, if you can believe that. Mike Keeling was the director of
the center — the Keeling Center — well, it’s now called
the Keeling Center. He was director of what we
called the Science Park at that time. And I have to pretty much say
that none of the stuff that we would be talking about
today — me, Mollie, maybe all of us — would have
been possible without the contributions and the
efforts of Mike Keeling. I think he was a leader for
certainly behavioral management of non-human primates in
captivity and the proper management of non-human
primates in captivity. And you can see there are a lot
of very skilled technicians on this list, quite
a number of DVMs, and some of the PhDs that we’ve
worked with over the years. Okay, so I’m going to start, you
know, at a fairly basic level. I’m going to try and emphasize
some of the things that Mollie said and probably some of the
things that Chris said, as well. I’m in the dreaded number-three
slot where the first two speakers said everything
I was going to say, so I have to try and make it
sound fresh even though it’s going to be very similar to
what they were talking about. So, non-human
primates, as you know, live in social
groups in the wild. That’s what we’re trying
to functionally simulate in captivity. That’s the point of the
socialization-type approach that we take. We want to functionally simulate
natural conditions in captivity. So, you know, non-human primates
in the wild live in social groups. Mollie already told you that. Some of them live in
fairly large groups. I’ve given you
some pictures here. Many of the macaques
live in large groups, chimpanzees live in large
groups, ringtail lemurs, vervet monkeys, squirrel
monkeys, and baboons. So these are, you know, fairly
common — except for the ringtail lemur, probably — fairly common research non-human primates and, you know, we’re interested in, again, simulating the way
they live in the wild. And then, of course, there are
other species that live in small groups, and Mollie talked
about that; monogamous pairs, something like that. Marmosets, tamarins, owl
monkeys, titi monkeys. Orangutans tend to be
fairly solitary in the wild. The siamangs that you see there
are pretty much monogamous. So, except for the siamangs and
the orangutans not used that much in research right now, the
other four species on the slide pretty much are. And we’re going to have to do
different things for animals that naturally live in small
groups than we are for animals that naturally live
in large groups. So we’re going to take slightly
different approaches for what we’re going to functionally
simulate from them. So when we start thinking
about — as Mollie told you, when you start thinking
about how to house animals in captivity, you want to have an understanding of how they live in the wild. So you really want to understand
some of the natural social processes that are
taking place in the wild, and I really only picked just
a couple that I thought were particularly relevant for what
really this meeting is about. So there are some natural
social processes out there. You know that non-human primates
immigrate and emigrate primarily to prevent inbreeding. That’s how new groups form. That’s how animals
move between groups. You know that sometimes animals
other than the parents take care of infants. So that’s called alloparenting. I think you’re
familiar with that. And I think you also know
that to become a good parent yourself, particularly
in captivity — you know, in the wild it’s a little bit
more natural — you have to have opportunities to take care of
infants before you have your own. So I think alloparenting is
going to prove to be a fairly important thing for what
we talk about today. And then, of course, there’s
aggression in the wild and we know that there’s
aggression in captivity, with wounding and
those kinds of things. You know that there’s intragroup
aggression and aggression between groups, as well. Between-group aggression is not
really going to figure into the captive situation, but
certainly within-group, intragroup aggression
is going to figure in. So I’d just like you to kind
of think about those particular social processes
that are natural. Maybe we want to functionally
simulate certain aspects of them, maybe we don’t. Maybe we don’t want to set up
conditions in which animals are going to definitely be
aggressive towards one another. Maybe we want to set up
conditions where we can minimize aggression —
within-group aggression. And so we really need to pay
attention to those kinds of things. So, again, I’m going to say
it a lot of different times. It’s probably going to appear
on most of the slides that have words. What we’re trying to do is
simulate the functional aspects of the natural
environment in captivity, and for the purposes of what
we’re talking about here, we’re going to focus on
the social environment. And we want to do that for a
number of different reasons. Mollie showed you, you
know, the regulations, the new animal — the guide,
the Animal Welfare Act, all these kinds of things. We’re interested in
satisfying those regulations, operating within the confines
of those regulations. But it really goes a little
bit further, I think. We started behavioral management
— Mollie’s group started it, you know, a long time ago. And the idea wasn’t simply
to satisfy regulations. It was to satisfy
the animals’ needs. And I think sometimes that’s
something that gets a little bit lost in the whole conversation. So I think what we want to think
about is how we can address regulations, and this is
particularly important with the NIH’s working groups’ report
and the director of NIH — I’m allowed to say that
while I’m here. He’s not going to appear from
above or anything like that. No, he doesn’t come to
little stuff like this. So, you know, with the
chimp report that came out, group size is very important,
enclosure size is a very important factor in whether
chimp research or chimps can be maintained in captivity,
that kind of thing. So it really doesn’t
apply just to chimps, it’s to all non-human
primates in captivity. And that’s where my expertise
is, with non-human primates. I don’t know much about dogs
and rabbits and those kinds of things. But I think one of the things
that really important is that we have to think about ways that we can satisfy the animals’ needs when they’re in captivity, and that’s what the paired housing’s about, that’s what the
assessments of temperament are about, all these other things that you’ve already heard about are better and better ways for us to take into account what the animals need when
they’re in captivity, when they’re in — I’m talking
about social groups, but, you know, in pairs or whatever. And I think one of the things
that happens is that the balance between the animals’ needs and
human convenience sometimes is out of proportion, where human convenience gets a lot of emphasis and animal needs get relatively little. So one of the things that I
hope that housing animals in compatible groups is going to
do — non-human primates in compatible groups is going to
not restore the balance — it’s never going to be like this, but
sort of get the animal needs to have a higher priority up
against human convenience. Because as Mollie pointed out,
there are some inconvenient things about housing
animals socially. But as she also said, you know,
she wants the benefits for the animals to be weighed just as heavily as the benefits to the humans for housing animals singly versus housing animals socially. So I want you to think about
what we can do or how some of the things I’ll end up talking about might help to change the balance of, let’s say, human convenience and animal needs in a social context. So if you’ve never
been to our place, I work at MD
Anderson in Bastrop, and we have chimpanzees
living in corrals. There are eight of these corrals
attached to this one building. You can see there are
low tops on the corrals. [clip playing] So what we’re doing is we’re
getting ready to feed the animals yogurt, frozen yogurt that’s in the container. So one of the reasons I’m
showing you this is really just to give you a feel about what
social housing entails when it comes to something as simple
as feeding a preferred food. So we go from corral — turns
off corral one to corral three. And this is a celebration,
something that chimpanzees naturally do in the wild when
they come across a favored food source. And you can see the other three
corrals that are down inside of that building. Four corrals down the left side,
four corrals down the right side. You can see that they’re pretty
interested in getting fed, right? Because frozen yogurt’s
their favorite thing. [clip playing] And one of the things that
happens is sometimes when they get into the celebration
there’s a little self-directed aggression, there’s a little
social aggression takes place. Mollie’s group was doing some
work at that time on trying to manage some of that
feeding-related aggression in a social group by feeding them on a predictable versus an unpredictable schedule, and
to make a long story short, unpredictable feeding helped
in reducing aggression at meal times, but didn’t affect the
dominant status of particular individuals at other times. So it was important stuff. So here’s the guy with
the frozen yogurt. And you’ll see that animals
sort of — they sort of tend to distribute themselves throughout the enclosure so that they can get their food without too much competition with others. You can see that they can catch — you can’t see that they can throw, but take my word for it, they can throw with high degrees of accuracy. Unfortunately, it’s
post-digestion, rather than pre-digestion. And so for something as simple
as feeding animals in a group favored food, these are the
kinds of things you had to go through, okay? All right. So I told you that some species
of non-human primates live in large groups, some
live in small groups. Animals that live in multi-male
groups — multi-male, multi-female groups, they can
be a little difficult to manage. Let me just go back one slide. Sorry, I forget to
mention one thing. I underlined “compatible”
in the title. You’ve heard about compatibility
a million times today. So we want to house primates in
compatible groups in captivity, not just in groups. And I think that’s important
with the paired stuff and everything that we’ve
talked about up until now. It’s got to be compatible. Okay, so sometimes multi-male
groups can be difficult to make compatible. One of the things that you can
do is use — because males fight with one another. You can use uni-male groups,
particularly for species that are matrilineal, groups that
live in situations where it’s the female matriline that’s
really the focus of the group. Most species of macaques,
the baboons, vervet monkeys, most of those species,
they’re all matrilineal. Eric, you didn’t
start the timer. This is going to — it’s
going to hurt everybody in the audience, not just me,
because I’m not going to stop. [laughter] Okay? So you can advance it. Yeah, take some time off. Put me in the penalty
box preemptively. Okay, so you can use
uni-male groups, again, as functional simulations for
species that are matrilineal. So take these squirrel monkeys
at our facility for instance. We house them in uni-male,
multi-female groups. So what you see there is a whole
bunch of females and their most recent one or two offspring, and
there’s only one adult male in the group, and I’m not sure
you’re going to be able to see him in this particular video. Obviously he’s
doing some breeding, otherwise there wouldn’t be
juveniles and infants in there. But it turns out that
in squirrel monkeys, males aren’t big players in the
social dynamics of the group. They’re kind of actively
ostracized at particular times of the year. So this is just an example. And, you know, just to
give you some perspective, the enclosure isn’t much longer
than — much wider than this. It’s about 20 feet deep, but
it’s not much longer than my two arms put out like that. So, just when you’re thinking
about enclosure size, social group size,
et cetera, et cetera, that’s just something
to keep in mind. Okay, and here are Rhesus
monkeys living in a fairly standard corncrib. It’s the uni-male,
multi-female group. Mollie made her
presentation interactive. I’m going to make
mine interactive, too. Which one’s the male? Come on. The one every time he moves,
everybody else jumps up onto the wire and gets out of his way? Like that? Okay, so that’s kind of
how things would be in a naturalistic group
of Rhesus monkeys. So, again, this is a
functional simulation. We can get breeding,
we can get production, we can get the matrilines, but
we don’t have to worry about male-male aggression
in this situation. So, again, it can be a
useful functional simulation. Okay, so for species
that are patrilineal, in which the males form the
core of the social group, and, you know, that applies
to chimpanzees, for sure, and I’ve been thinking
about this for a day or two. Are there other
patrilineal species? Nothing came to my mind. So we’ll leave that as a
pondering point, I suppose. Does anybody know of any species
of non-human primates in the wild where it’s the male-male bond, brothers stay together, and that kind of thing? We’re all together in this
in not being able to identify anything but chimps. So here we have a situation
in which we do want multi-male groups, and Mike Keeling is
really the one who started this so long ago. It’s male-male social
interactions that are critical to the day-to-day social
life of chimpanzees. So here we have a situation, two
adult males and one infant to start with. And I guess that one’s
not going to play. I must have missed that one. Okay, so never mind about that. [laughter] Okay? You would have seen the
infant playing when the males eventually groom, and they’re
all kind of hanging out together, just to show you how
important male-male interactions are. Okay. As we’ve been saying, multi-male
groups are sometimes difficult to manage unless you
have enough space. So many primate centers have
large field cages in which they keep many macaques. If you’ve been to the
Southwest Foundation, which is now the Texas Institute
for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, you know that they have very large baboon enclosures with multi-male groups in them, of course, and you know that the vervet
monkeys that used to be at UCLA, but are now at Wake Forest,
also live in multi-male groups. You can keep species that
live in large multi-male, multi-female groups where the
matriline is the most important in large enclosures
successfully. And so I do a little bit —
I did a little bit of work in Mauritius. So here’s a situation where
we have two adult males and 45 females and their most recent
offspring at a breeding facility in Mauritius. We’re able to house them
successfully like that. We get excellent — they
get excellent breeding. And what we’re trying to do here
— we’re going to talk a little bit more about positive
reinforcement training at the end, and Mollie talked a
little bit about it already. What we’re trying to do is sort
of get control of the males so that we can work
with the females. In Mauritius, they
hand-catch the animals, and we needed a way to put the
males in a cage within the cage voluntarily so that we could
work with the females and the infants while the male
was in the — you know, and so that the male wouldn’t
bite us in the calves basically. So here you see the male inside
a cage within the cage being acclimated to — desensitize to
the door of his cage within the cage going up and down. And you can see it’s
multi-female, multi-kid, multi-juvenile group, and
there’s a lot of animals in there. Okay, so that’s what I was going
to say about the large groups. Things are different
— you know, fairly different when you have
some of these small groups of non-human primates, animals that tend to live monogamously in the wild. One of the things that seems to
happen is that you probably want to limit inter-group sensory
contact among owl monkeys, among common marmosets, among
tamarins, some of those species, particularly if you’re trying
to breed them successfully, because if you think about
how those particular types of non-human primates
live in the wild, they live in territories that
are pretty far apart from other members of their species and
they don’t usually come into, let’s just say, visual contact. Owl monkeys don’t usually come
into visual contact with other owl monkeys. Common marmosets don’t usually
come into visual contact with other common marmosets. But if you’ve been to any of
the places that breed these monogamous primates, in
the United States anyway, you’ll see that large numbers of
social groups of marmosets will occupy the same room, large
numbers of owl monkeys will occupy the same room, and I
think you’ll also see that the production in many of those
facilities is not particularly good. Chris talked about stress. We’re interested in stress. What could be more stressful
for a pair of owl monkeys than having — well, let’s just say
— and I’m making up this number kind of — 67 other pairs of owl
monkeys in the same room that they’re living in. So if you know an owl monkey —
they have owl monkeys here at NIH, those are some
owl monkeys there. This is one side of a room
that’s really a very nice room with a waterfall
down the middle, 34 family groups down the
right side of the building, 34 family groups
down the left side. This is our facility. It’s really very good. It has skylights so we can
simulate the falling of dusk and the beginning of sunrise. We have light tubes
rather than lights. So if a light breaks, nobody has
to go into the room to fix it. Owl monkeys really don’t like
being handled that much, okay? So we can have strangers,
or physical plant people, repair the lights from outside
the room rather than having to go inside the room. So I’ll just show you just
a quick video of what the waterfall looks like and I’ll tell you the reason we have the waterfall is for
environmental enrichment. It’s the
constantly-changing thing. You know, people have
tranquility fountains and that kind of stuff. It’s designed to calm
the monkeys down. It’s designed to prevent them
from seeing other owl monkeys. You perhaps could hear —
and you will hear again, I hope — that it generates
a lot of kind of white noise, and the white noise will prevent
the owl monkeys from hearing other owl monkeys being handled,
which is kind of critical for what we’re trying to do. So maybe you can see the owl
monkeys living in their nest box. And then I just
have — you know, to give you a little insight
into what we’re doing here, this is a view of
the whole room. I got up on a tall ladder,
got up above the waterfall, didn’t fall off, but violated
every OSHA rule and regulation by not wearing a proper
harness and what have you. But this will give you an
insight to what it’s like at dusk in one of these
owl monkey rooms. Now, this is the best housing
for groups of owl monkeys that you can do, but it’s
still not perfect, okay? There are 68 family
groups of owl monkeys in .0003 kilometers squared. That’s a really high owl
monkey density, okay? Things to think about. And so it’s 175 monkeys per
room, and again, you know, that many per
kilometers squared. Okay, so now what I want to
do is talk to you a little bit about what strategies you
might use to form groups. So you’re going to take your
animals that you have in captivity and you’re going to
form social groups from them. Maybe you’ve
extended past pairs. Now you have trios, quads,
whatever it happens to be. You want to form some groups. Now there’s natural processes
by which groups form, and I’ve just called
them accumulation, and I didn’t have a
better word for it. So, obviously, in the wild an
adolescent owl monkey leaves the family group, a male looking for a female that got kicked out of her group, as well. When they’re able
to get together, they form their own territory,
and they make a pair. That’s what I’m
calling accumulation. Sometimes matrilines form
together to form new groups. The Cayo Santiago people won’t
understand that particularly well, so that’s another way
that you can form a group. I already told you that animals
immigrate and emigrate in order to prevent inbreeding,
among other things. You know that perhaps chimps
live in fission/fusion societies where they break up for
part — the whole community, maybe 100 animals, but you’re
very unlikely to see 100 animals at a time. During the day they fission off
into smaller groups and maybe the whole community fuses at
some point to make this larger community. You know that large Rhesus
monkey groups will sometimes fission into smaller groups. That happens at places
like Cayo Santiago, and it perhaps happens in some
of the field cages at some of the primate centers. It’s perhaps easier to manage
out at Cayo Santiago than it is to manage in a place like the California Primate Center, where a fission is typically
associated with death and a lot of injuries, something that’s
sometimes called a cage war. And you know that you start
with a group of one male, seven females, and what happens? You know, you have a
corncrib that has one male, seven females, the
least dominant, the most subordinate female ends
up looking bad and what do you do? You take her out, you have
one male, six females, then what happens to the
number six in that scenario? Eventually she’s not looking so
good also and now you’re down to a group, you know, over time,
one male, three females, something like that, and you
need to form new groups from — as a function of that. Okay? So when you’re forming groups in
captivity — again we’re going with this functional simulation
concept — we have to consider a lot of different things. Compatibility, we’ve
already heard about. And all I need you to think
about is to use all the available information that you
have when you go about forming a group with more than
a pair of animals. And what I mean by “all
available information” are things like age — we’ve heard
about the effects of age on pairing — sex — we’ve heard
about the effects of sex on pairing — temperament — we’ve heard about the effects of temperament on pairing. All of these same kind of things
factor — and social rearing, upbringing, those kinds of
things — all those influence how compatible a particular
group is going to be. And so one of the things that
we’ve used with our chimps in a slightly different way even
Chris has used it with caged monkeys, because remember
we’re talking about groups, is that we assess the
temperament of our chimps — we have a good publication about
that — and what we’re doing with the information. So it’s one thing to collect
temperament information. As Mollie talked about, what she
likes to do is solve problems with science. So we’ve collected
this — these data, and now what we want to do is
use the data to improve the conditions for the
animals in captivity. So we know which of our
groups are most compatible. We’ll focus on chimps
for the time being. And we know what the temperament
characteristics of compatible groups are. And we know what the temperament
profile of incompatible groups is, okay? So when it comes time for us
to try and form a new group, obviously what are
we going to do? We’re going to try and model it
after a group that has — that is compatible and has — let’s
call it the compatible group temperament, okay? So one of the things we do
to assess compatibility, just like Chris did,
we use a novel object. Our chimps have received very,
very many different things as part of our behavioral
management program. There’s not all that much
that’s novel to our chimps. But this karate dummy, whose
name is Bob — and actually that’s Bob the Fifth. [laughter] You’ll perhaps get some insight
into what happened to Bobs one through four. We exposed the animals
to this novel object, and it is Bob the Karate Dummy. It’s human-like but it’s
missing vital human parts. Sometimes the chimps understand
this and sometimes they don’t, and we can discuss
that in a second. So here’s the first instance. This particular group of chimps — and we’re interested in how the different animals react to the same stimulus. I mean, that’s the
profile we’re looking for. So this is just a
couple of seconds later. I like short clips
rather than large clips. So — unfortunately, though
— unfortunately, fortunately, you decide — we’ve used martial
arts videos as part of our video enrichment program
to the animals. [laughter] And perhaps Jackie Chan and
Jean-Claude Van Damme and whatever else has had a
disproportionate influence on the animals’ behavior. [laughter] But again, you know, we’re
interested in who’s doing what to Bob the Karate Dummy. So we use the Sopranos also as
part of our video enrichment, which is another mistake. But you can see, different
animals responded differently to the Karate Dummy, and we can
assess the personalities of the individuals based
on those responses, the response to novelty, and
then we can build a profile for the particular group to
determine — you know, we know whether they’re
compatible or not based on the number of injuries that they have and we can see what we can do about building new groups that match that compatibility profile. So Bob the Karate Dummy stands
up beautifully to kicks and punches and slaps on the head. You saw all that. But canines to the testicles
that he doesn’t have, and canines to the top of its
head does not — Bob doesn’t do very well with that. All the department’s
veterinarians and all the department’s men couldn’t put Bob back together again — [laughter] — even with stitches. We rushed him to the clinic
and we couldn’t save him, unfortunately. The surgical glue melted him. [laughter] So that wasn’t such a
great thing for us to do. Well, Bob didn’t care. I mean, come on. Okay? So like I was saying, we
want to use all the different information that we have,
the animal characteristics, we’ve already heard that you
do better when you use younger animals formed into pairs, very
much the same thing when you’re forming groups. Younger animals
tend to do better. And one of the things
that we don’t do, but we should do and we’re
probably going to start to do in the future, is make use of some of these network analyses that are currently being pioneered and utilized and implemented and applied, which is really the key thing, at the California Natural
Primate Research Center. They’re able to look at
particular groups of animals and define networks of
social interactions, and they’re able to determine,
first retrospectively based on some of the network analyses,
what caused a group to fall apart, and then more importantly
they’re able to look at the data proactively to see if they can
preempt groups falling apart. It’s fairly complicated
statistical work. I don’t understand
the details of it. But they’re having very good
success at identifying what aspects of social groups need to
be maintained in order to keep groups — large groups —
150 animals — compatible. And, more importantly, they’ve
been able to identify a couple of things that they know that,
when this bad thing starts to happen, then groups are
likely to fall apart, okay? So I think this is — if you
want to read some things, Brenda McCowan at Davis is
the one to read about this, and her stuff in the next 10
years is going to be very, very important. Okay. So one of the things — another
thing that you have to consider is what you’re using
the animals for. So, for our — from
our point of view, we have three different
species of owl monkey. We don’t want any inbreeding. We don’t want any hybrids. So we’re very careful in forming
groups of animals that are of the same species. You know, there are
three different species. And maybe you can tell from
that photo — those photos, maybe you can’t, owl monkeys are
very difficult to tell apart. It’s hard to tell males
from females because they’re monogamous, which means
they’re the same size, no sexual dimorphism. A little bit easier: Rhesus
monkeys, baboons, chimps, things like that because there
is a lot of sexual dimorphism. Okay, and sort of continuing
along the lines of utility. You know, if you’re making
an SPF colony or a super SPF colony, then there are things
that you have to consider when you’re making your groups. So how do some of these
pathogens in the SPF — you know, herpes B virus, simian
T-cell lymphotropic virus, something like that — how are
they transmitted and how do you have to manage your groups
so that you can minimize the transmission across individuals and obviously across groups, but really within groups is what you’re trying to manage transmission if any of the
animals happen to have any of the pathogens. And then how do
you manage a loss? So if you have one animal
that comes up indeterminate or positive for one of the
viruses, what’s your next step? Do you disband the whole
group, just isolate the group, give it another test, whatever? There are a lot of
things to consider. Okay? And certainly for
Rhesus monkeys, there was a time when we were
considering breeding lines of mammal A-1-positive animals and maybe B-17-positive animals, something like that. So you really want to define
your species and manage the groups so that you can get
maximum utility out of these captive populations. And another thing to
think about, of course, is their research destiny. We asked about, you know, if
they’re going to be paired and then one is sacrificed
as part of the study, what happens to the other
guy who’s left behind? You know, is he grieving? Is it better to have been paired
and then lose your pair mate than it is never to
have been paired at all? This — I’m quoting — that
was Shakespeare, you know. He was a biomedical researcher. [laughter] And, you know, the same
would apply in groups. So now we’re thinking about
situations in which we might be able to manage a group so that we could take one animal out, do a study on it, put it
back or not put it back, something like that. So you have to think about
the animal’s research destiny. And, you know, Mollie’s told
us very nicely about the social history of the animals
being really important. If you’re brought up
poorly to start with, in many circumstances you’re not
going to get better and you’re not going to make an outstanding
model for biomedical research, you’re not going to be easy
to house in a pair maybe, you’re not going to be easy
to house in a social group. So it’s really important for us
to understand and utilize and employ what we know about
the social experience of the monkeys. So I’ll just show you,
hopefully, a video. You like the way
that monkey looks? You want to put him in a group
with other monkeys either like him or not like him? It’s not going to be good
for him either way, okay? And here’s the same monkey. He’s one of the two pair. So now we’ve
socially housed him. Do we make him better? Not from that video,
certainly not. But here, after an extensive
behavioral management program, you know that Rhesus monkeys
swim in the wild all the time, canals, [unintelligible],
they jump in the rain pools. So using a therapist like
that you talk to a three- to four-month-old, well it’s best
the three- to four-month-old youngster being a good therapist
for nine- to 12-month old socially isolated
Rhesus monkeys. Here’s an example of an animal
who’s been through a therapy program like that. That’s the same monkey. And I’m hoping you’re
thinking to yourself, “Oh, that’s pretty good,” okay? So we can form groups. It takes a lot of work to
succeed in this regard. It’s one of our only successes
in bringing back monkeys, providing therapy for monkeys. So I’m not going to
say we cured him. We provided therapy. We brought them back just
a significant amount. But the best way to do deal
with these abnormal behaviors, as Mollie and
Chris talked about, is simply to prevent them from
developing rather than trying to cure them. Curing them is very difficult. Preventing them from developing
these abnormal behaviors is really quite easy. Harry Harlow showed us how to
do it, you know, 65 years ago. We know how to do it. Okay? So there’s some interest in
what age you should wean your infants. We wean our young Rhesus
monkeys at seven months of age. And I think it’s too young. I think they should be
weaned at one year of age. But we’re a production colony
and our veterinarian is very much in favor of the
seventh-month weaning thing because he thinks that females
are going to have an easier time with their next pregnancy if
they don’t have to worry about having an infant on them. The fact that Rhesus monkeys in
the wild at one year — females with one-year-old infants
on them have a new baby, and the interbirth interval
is like 384 days, so it’s, you know, basically one year,
that doesn’t go into the veterinarian’s thinking. So we would like the animals
to get a little bit more social experience, maybe be
weaned at one year of age, but it’s an argument that I
can’t have with him because it’s an argument that I can’t win. Except in my
personal family life, I try not to have arguments
that I can’t win, okay? In my family life,
unfortunately, I’ve had many. Too much sharing? [laughter] Always. Always. That’s just my style. You’re all my friends. Because we have an 84 percent
production rate in our Rhesus colony — uni-male,
multi-female, about 1, 000 animals SFP, no one
can touch that, okay? So even with weaning the
animals at seven months of age, they turn into outstanding
breeders and outstanding parents, okay? So despite the fact that from
a behavioral point of view, from a textbook point of view,
I would like the babies to stay with their moms for longer and
their social groups for longer, our weaning situation
has worked beautifully. Seven months, they
produce like crazy. Everything’s good. Okay? And, you know, obviously we
have good breeding competence. Eighty-four percent
production rate. The owl monkeys and the squirrel
monkeys don’t really breed as well. And I think, for the owl
monkeys anyway — well, part of the reason is we don’t
want any more owl monkeys. We have too many and
there’s no demand for them. I think part of the problem
with owl monkeys and marmosets, these monogamous species, is
that they live in these big rooms with many, many social
groups and it’s a very atypical situation for them, and I think
it adversely affects their reproduction. For the squirrel monkeys, one of
the things we end up using are sort of nursery groups. We’ll — when we identify
pregnant females, we’ll put them into groups with
other pregnant females and move them away from the adolescents
in particular because adolescent squirrel monkeys are
big-time allomothers. And it’s good for them. They learn how to mother. But it’s bad for the infant
because they’re not lactating and they’re raw. They don’t know
how to do it right. So the infants may suffer a
little bit in that circumstance. So that’s kind of
where I am there. Most non-human primate species
have some alloparenting, and, like I said, it helps
you be a better mother. It may not help the offspring of
a subordinate female who can’t get her infant back from the
juvenile offspring of a dominant female. So that’s something I
studied a long time ago. So here I’ve got two
quick videos of — well, I have one quick video
of allomothering. This is not the
chimp baby’s mom. This is another female. And, in fact, this female
did most of the caring and interacting with
this particular baby. And there are some good things
for everyone to learn in that circumstance. Okay, we’ve also
used all-male groups. So some people say, you know,
that’s going to cause all kinds of problems. Well, with the chimps,
which live patrilineally, we have plenty of
male-male pairs, or we’ve had plenty of
male-male pairs over the past. We’re moving away from that
because we need a minimum group size of seven, et
cetera, et cetera. So male chimps tend to
get along just fine. Male Rhesus monkeys, when we
did our SPF derivation strategy about, I don’t know,
23 years ago now, we had extra males when we
formed breeding groups and we just put them in
all-male groups. And they did just fine. And, in fact, males that had
experience in all-male groups ended up being better breeders
than males who had not, okay? There was the confounding
factor of age, but still the experience you
gain in a male-male group can be advantageous to you as a breeder later on in life in, you know, uni-male, multi-female
situations. You’ve already seen that we
can form groups and we can occasionally provide therapy for
the abnormal behaviors that we see, but it’s not
always the case. Age, I already told you,
is really important. Young animals go together
better than older animals. We’ve all seen that. This is just in
Mauritius — again, I don’t know what I’m showing. As Mollie said, one of the
things you have to do is monitor for compatibility. We can use observations,
like Mollie talked about, three times a week
for each pair. We don’t do our observations
anywhere near as frequently unless you consider the daily
rounds that the veterinarians, the vet techs, and the behavior
people do, looking for wounds. If we’re looking for wounds
and we don’t see any, we’ve essentially monitored
for compatibility, right? And at some point we’re going
to get really involved in this network analysis, I think. It’s pretty good stuff. So I think that’s another
way that we’re going. And as Mollie told you at
the very, very beginning, the best thing you can do
for non-human primates — a socially-living, non-human
primate — is give it a compatible group-mate
— partner, group-mate to live with. There are other types, but
that’s the best form of environmental enrichment,
social enrichment. There are other types of
enrichment that you can use and you can use them in all sorts of different group settings. So here’s something as simple as a banana feeder where the animals can in fact compete to get access to the limited amount of resources that are there. It’s an opportunity for them to express their dominant status in a socially-sanctioned way and
maybe they don’t have to beat the crap out of somebody
else just because. They’re able to express their
dominance over the enrichment device. Again, they don’t need
another outlet for it. So owl monkeys — you know,
we reverse the life cycle. They are fresh fruit eaters,
they’re ripe fruit eaters, so you need a way
to enrich them. So we put some ripe
fruit on [inaudible]. They’re not overly interactive
during the daytime [inaudible], but they are relatively
active [inaudible] year. Okay. Visual barriers are
something that can be used, particularly in groups, to maybe
prevent some aggression from taking place. If an animal can get [inaudible]
visual barrier and animals can get on the other side
when they’re being chased, and that’s an
advantageous thing. I’ve already shown you a
little bit about the training. Obviously if you keep animals in
groups and you want to work with them, then you’re going to
have to use your positive reinforcement training to
get them to do what you want. Here’s a group-housed animal
going to give us a conscious blood sample by inserting
its arm in the sleeve, sucking on the juice
bottle that’s put up there. And you’ll see no
anesthesia is involved. The current term
is acquiescence. So is the animal acquiescing
to what we’re doing? That’s the question
that I’m asking you. I don’t like this particular
term, acquiescence. I think acquiescence is what you
do when your wife nags you to take out the garbage. You acquiesce and you
take out the garbage. You don’t volunteer
and say, “Honey, I’m going to take
out the garbage.” This to me is volunteering. So there’s a vac container,
there’s a blood sample. And, you know, this is how much
effort goes into getting a blood sample in a social group with
positive reinforcement training being the operation. And I’ll just show
you one other thing. We have an animal with a bad
lung so we’ve taught the animal to use the nebulizer and the
nebulizer has albuterol and something else in it. So [inaudible]
voluntary participation. I hope you’re thinking
that the answer is yes. So one of the things we’re
working on most closely, most completely right now
is getting the animals to voluntarily participate
in their own medical care. And I’ll just show this last
video and then I’ll stop. So here’s an animal
with arthritis. It’s getting acupuncture and
laser therapy at the same time. It’s living in its
group, no problem. And the important thing is that
I want you to look at is that we’re not giving the
animal grapes, apple, or anything during this process. The animal is working for the
positive reinforcement of the acupuncture treatment
and the laser therapy. So the animal has made the
assessment that the benefits of sitting there for this process — the benefits that are involved in pain relief, better gait, et cetera, et cetera, are positive reinforcement enough for him to volunteer to do the behavior. And obviously we’re doing that
with animals in the group. So just the last thing that I
want to say is that one of the things that we’re struggling with with our chimpanzee colony in particular is that we have a lot of very old chimpanzees. We have three that are 51
years — 52 years, almost 53, and we have about 40 that
are 40 years and above. And if any of you are in
that age range yourself, you know that things that used
to work don’t work all that well anymore and you can’t move
around like you used to, et cetera, et cetera. So we have a large number — or
an important number of animals that are mobility-impaired. So we have to form groups
based on their mobility. So we have mobility-impaired
groups that are in enclosures where it’s less likely they’re
going to fall in the event that there’s a ruckus with
the rest of the animals. So that makes it difficult for
us — and you don’t really care, but, I mean, it makes it
difficult for us to meet some of these 20-foot height
requirements for certain subsets of animals that would probably
not benefit from a 20-foot height for chimps in captivity. And, you know, with these
geriatric groups we’re having to manage a lot of
different things. And just the last thing I’ll
say is that we’re constantly assessing their quality of life. We have a publication coming out
in animal welfare that describes our quality of life assessment
system that incorporates — Susan Lambeth is the one
that’s done this really. It incorporates not only
veterinarians in the assessments of quality of life, but the
behavioral team, as well. And not only do we look for
changes in clinical chemistries and clinical parameters, but
we also look for changes in behavioral parameters. Animals that used to
like to do things, when they stop liking to do
those things, we get worried. When they stop liking
to interact with people, that worries us. And for animals that never liked
to interact with people to start with, when they start to
like interacting with people, we worry, as well. So we’re looking for
changes in behavior. And I think we have about seven
animals on this quality of life watch at the moment, and I think
it’s a fairly important aspect of keeping animals in groups. So my summary is just that
you heard what we had to say. It’s all about forming
compatible groups, using all the information
that you have, same types of information that
you would use to form compatible pairs, that type of thing. And, once again, I want to thank
all these people who, you know, have really significantly
contributed to what I told you about today. So thanks for listening. I’ll be happy to take any — [applause]

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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