Captive Primate Management and Well-being
For more than a decade, the McCowan Lab has been conducting research on best management practices for managing nonhuman primates in the laboratory, zoo and sanctuary settings. Our main focus has been on rhesus macaques and looking at various types of enrichment activities for optimizing animal health and well-being. We conduct studies on the early rearing strategies, later social environment (both group-housed and pair-housed animals), and environmental predictability and control including positive reinforcement training techniques. We have found that the most protective form of enrichment for maximizing animal well-being is social enrichment as well as allowing for predictability and control of the environment. One goal to develop new best management strategies that enhance the utility and reliability of biomedical research by maximizing primate well-being.