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What is primate Enrichment?
Everything we do to improve the quality of lives or our primates is Enrichment. There are three essential elements of captive life that fall short when compared with what our primates would be experiencing in a wild living environment. As responsible primate owners, we need to understand the ways in which we can enhance these areas of our primates lives to better meet their needs.
Three areas of Enrichment:
1. Dietary Enrichment 2. Environmental Enrichment 3. Social Enrichment
Social interactions in captivity are frequently more intense than they would be in the wild because the animals are closer together and because there are fewer alternatives to social interaction. By providing the animals with alternative activities some social behaviors, such as aggression, can frequently be reduced, thus lowering the stress of captivity and, in some cases, increasing the chances of reproduction.
Why is it important?
You and I have the power to affect our environment. We can turn on the television, read a book, call a friend, make a sandwich, or go for a walk. If we are bored or dissatisfied with our situation, we can change it. We have many resources available to us to enhance our lives. Our monkeys have only what we provide for them. They live where we put them. They eat what we feed them. They play with what we give them. Their needs for stimulation are very much like our own, yet they are without the ability to meet those needs themselves. They have only us. We are their sole resource for getting their needs for Enrichment met. As responsible owners, Enrichment of our primates lives is as essential as providing food and water.