Attending to the psychological well-being of laboratory primates derives from ethical concerns for the welfare of our fellow creatures and from a need to ensure healthy subjects for research. The 1985 Amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) mandated Environmental Enhancement Plans (EE Plans) to “promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates.” In their publication The Psychological Well-being of Nonhuman Primates, the National Research Council concluded an EE Plan should include:
- Appropriate social companionship
- Opportunities to engage in behavior related to foraging, exploration, and other activities appropriate to the species, age, sex, and condition of the animals
- Housing that permits suitable postural and locomotor expression
- Interactions with personnel that are generally positive and not a source of unnecessary stress
- Freedom from unnecessary pain and distress
The Washington National Primate Research Center’s (WaNPRC) Behavioral Management Services (BMS) program was established in 1997 in order to attend to the PWB of the nonhuman primates (NHPs) housed at the center. BMS is highly integrated with the other Animal Resources units, and functions on multiple levels within the WaNPRC, the University of Washington (UW), and the scientific community at large.
- We serve UW and WaNPRC scientific and animal welfare endeavors by overseeing the WaNPRC EE Plan and attending to the behavioral health of all NHPs housed at the center. This includes socialization, enrichment, behavioral monitoring, and positive reinforcement training, as well as reviewing research protocols for training requirements or exemptions to the EE Plan.
- We serve the educational goals of UW and WaNPRC by training staff on behavioral management techniques and by sponsoring students from the UW Undergraduate Research Program.
- We function in the scientific community at large by contributing to nation-wide behavioral management standards through our participation in working groups and consortiums, including the NPRC Behavioral Management Consortium (BMC), by presenting data at various scientific conferences, by publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and by our public outreach efforts.
Click here to see some of the types of environment enrichment we provide to our primates.
Current WaNPRC BMS staff collectively have over 150 years of experience working with nonhuman primates. We specialize in Macaca nemestrina social behavior. We are one of only two facilities in the US that breed Macaca nemestrina in naturalistic harem breeding groups. Though we primarily manage Macaca nemestrina, we have experience with many other species of non-human primates as well. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions- we are always delighted to talk about primate behavior or behavioral management techniques. If you have questions for our staff, please click here.