Zoos provide a unique and valuable resource for primate research. Indeed, previous analyses of zoo research have shown that non human primates are favoured as subjects and the study of welfare and conservation rank high on those topics studied [Hardy, D.F., 1996. Current research activities in zoos. In: Kleiman, D.G., Allen, M.E., Thompson, K.V., Lumpkin, S. (Eds.), Wild Mammals in Captivity: Principles and Techniques, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 1996, pp. 531– 536]. The types of research which are currently being undertaken and the primate species studied have been investigated in this current study using information gathered by the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland (NBIZF = 387) and the American Association of Zoos and Aquaria (NAZA = 319), between 1996 and 2000.
Analysis of these data showed that a disproportionately high number of studies were conducted on Hominidae (36.6%), while Prosimian families (11.2%) were neglected, with the exception of Lemuridae (9.8%). Projects were categorised according to their possible application, conservation (12%), conservation/welfare (59.4%), and welfare (28.6%). The types of projects conducted in American zoos compared to those in Britain and Ireland differed, with more physiological studies taking place in America, while most research in British and Irish zoos was behavioural.