Impact of female contraception for population management on behavior and social interactions in a captive troop of Guinea baboons (Papio papio)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Tabitha R Taberer, Jasmine Mead, Matthew Hartley, Naomi D Harvey
Zoo Biology
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As part of a population management strategy for a troop of Guinea baboons (Papio papio) at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, adult females were given a Suprelorin contraceptive implant. There was no information on the effect of contraception on behavior in this species, so behavioral data were collected before and after implant placement to determine any impact on the troops’ welfare. Social interactions, affiliative, agonistic, and self-directed displacement behaviors (SDBs) in all adults were monitored via focal sampling. Preimplant data were collected in August/September 2019 before Suprelorin placement on November 2019, and postimplant data were collected in August/September 2020, allowing for comparison while controlling for seasonal differences in behavior. We found a significant reduction of SDBs after intervention, suggesting that contraception has a positive impact on group welfare, as SDBs are key behavioral indicators of stress and anxiety in nonhuman primates. Additionally, the rate of substate change per hour (i.e., the number of times the baboon changed their behavior), duration of sentry behavior, and the frequency of agonistic bouts were significantly lower postimplant, further suggesting improvements in welfare. There were also no significant decreases in the duration of positive social interactions, such as allogrooming and play. The results show that Suprelorin did not have a detrimental impact on the behavior of adults in the troop and may have even improved welfare. The use of Suprelorin in females could be considered as an effective population management strategy for primates existing in similar social systems.


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