Applied primatology: species-specific behavior of captive Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) under varying zoo conditions and in the wild

Walkup, Kristina
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Two groups of captive Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) were studied to determine whether these captive populations display species-specific behaviors. This was determined by comparing captive behavior at the Blank Park Zoo (Des Moines, IA) and Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley, MN), to the literature on wild Japanese macaques. Data collected include an activity budget, reporting time spent performing typical primate behaviors, and whether the monkeys show aberrant behaviors typically seen in captive situations. Both factors were analyzed to determine the welfare of the populations and their similarity to wild conspecifics. The two troops differ in enclosure type and size, male:female ratio, and zoo management methods. It was hypothesized that captive macaques will be similar to wild macaques regarding behaviors expressed, but the frequency of behaviors will differ from wild conspecifics. This hypothesis was not rejected, with all wild behaviors present, but to varying degrees within each population. In particular, monkeys at both zoos exhibited high amounts of inactivity, which is possibly linked to the lack of infants and foraging opportunities. Foraging at the Blank Park Zoo was found to be significantly different from wild monkeys, though at the Minnesota Zoo, monkeys foraged to a similar degree as in the wild. Grooming, both allogrooming and autogrooming, was observed to differ for the captive monkeys in comparison to wild monkeys, in that wild monkeys spend much more time engaged in social grooming and a very small amount of time autogrooming. It is hypothesized that the lack of competition in the zoo setting has reduced the need to develop extended alliances through social grooming. The addition of infants, and further environmental enrichment may help reduce several of these differences between wild and captive monkeys.