Diving and Underwater Swimming as Enrichment Activities for Captive Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta)

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Abstract:

In order to assess the environmental enrichment value of a small swimming pool for captive juvenile rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), observations of social and individual behaviours were made during baseline and experimental (pool) conditions. When the pool was available there was less social grooming and cage manipulation, and more play. Most of the monkeys engaged in diving and underwater swimming. The presence of pieces of banana at the bottom of the pool reduced these water-related activities, whereas when raisins were spread along the bottom or when there was no food in the water, there was more diving and less aggression. Certain effects tended to vary with dominance status, but individual differences appeared more important than social status in determining reactions to the water. The provision of a small swimming pool for captive macaques is an effective contribution to improving their welfare.

Keywords: AGGRESSION; ANIMAL WELFARE; DOMINANCE; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; PLAY; RHESUS MACAQUES; SWIMMING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1994

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