Effects of isosexual pair-housing on biomedical implants and study participation in male macaques.
Social housing has been shown to contribute to the psychological well-being and physical health of captive primates, and this factor has led to United States Department of Agriculture guidelines requiring facilities to address the social needs of primate species known to live socially in nature as long as doing so does not endanger the animals or interfere with research goals. Although pair-housing is the best way to provide social enrichment, many researchers and facilities are hesitant to implement it, particularly in biomedical research contexts where implanted devices or behavioral performance might be compromised. In order to study the effects of pair-housing on biomedical implants and study participation, we collected data from a group of isosexually pair-housed male macaques (adult and subadult) with 1) cranial and eye implants and 2) controlled access to water as means of motivating subjects to participate in psychophysical studies. Implants, study participation, and weight gain were not adversely affected by pair-housing. Our results support the use of pair-housing as social enrichment for macaques with biomedical implants and controlled access to water.
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