Behavioral management of chimpanzees in biomedical research facilities: The state of the science

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Mollie A. Bloomsmith, James G. Else
Institute for Laboratory Animal Research Journal
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The current status of the behavioral management of chimpanzees housed in US research facilities is examined, and recent advances are described. Behavioral management includes the application of environmental enrichment, animal training, and environmental design for improving animal welfare. Authors surveyed the six major chimpanzee holding facilities and found that the vast majority of chimpanzees are housed socially, with access to the outdoors. The institutions currently invest in behavioral scientists, enrichment specialists, and, most recently, chimpanzee trainers to implement and study chimpanzee behavioral management. This review is based on the substantial scientific literature related to managing social behavior, identifying the behavioral effects of restricted socialization, evaluating various forms of enrichment, and describing positive reinforcement animal training. Authors outline recent accomplishments in behavioral management, summarize behavioral issues that have been evaluated, and identify issues for future consideration. It is proposed that the enhanced application of behavioral management techniques, including training, could significantly reduce chimpanzee stress that is generally associated with experimental manipulations, and could improve animal welfare and the quality of biomedical research. The next challenge is to implement effectively and thoroughly the approaches that have been shown to be beneficial.


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