Reasons and Risks Associated with Manipulating Captive Primates' Social Environments
Efforts to promote the psychological well-being of captive non-human primates through the application of environmental enrichment techniques are becoming more common. However, from this perspective relatively little empirical work has been done on the effects of manipulation of the
social environment. The data currently available indicate that primates kept in solitary confinement are likely to develop a variety of behavioural and physiological disturbances reflecting reduced well-being, whereas most compatibly socially housed primates appear better adapted. There is
always some risk associated with manipulating the social environment for experimental or husbandry reasons, but the risk of deleterious consequences can be reduced by a good knowledge of the animals' normal repertoire and careful monitoring of how the animals adjust to the new conditions.
Attending to the social environment of captive primates is fundamental to their welfare.