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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Animal Welfare Enhancement Awards - 2005 Recipients

Assessment of the behavioral effects of exposure to an expanded environmental enrichment programs in baboons
Amy K. Goodwin, PhD
 Johns Hopkins University

Although amendments to the Animal Welfare Act in 1985 required researchers to actively promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates, universally recognized standards for promoting psychological well-being have not been established. An evaluation of psychological well-being may include assessing signs of distress, such as self-injurious behaviors, repetitive and stereotypical movements, significant changes in food consumption, or any other radical change in behavior. The extent to which specific components of enrichment programs improve the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates has not been systematically studied. Thus, the purpose of the research project is to evaluate the behavioral effects of exposure to an expanded environmental enrichment program in baboons. While we currently employ a comprehensive enrichment program for baboons in their home cages, the expanded program will include exposure to an entire "enrichment room." The enrichment room will provide baboons with the opportunity and space to move freely and interact with novel objects, foraging areas, toys, etc. In order to characterize the behavioral effects of the expanded enrichment program, we will use outcome measures that include activity levels, frequency of cage behaviors, duration to enter the shuttle for transportation, and reinforcer preference. After characterizing the behavioral effects of exposure to the enrichment room, all baboons in the lab will be eligible for participation in the enrichment program. The results of the project may also aid other labs in the development of enrichment programs for nonhuman primates