Behavioural Training Programme
We carry out behavioural training programmes with our primates for four key reasons: husbandry, veterinary care, behavioural modification and problem-solving and enrichment.
It is important that all trained behaviours should be within the natural capability of the species and be of benefit to the individual animal concerned through improved welfare, a reduction in the stressors associated with traditional husbandry techniques and a physical or cognitive challenge. Any trained behaviour should not compromise the animal’s physical or psychological well-being and should be considered part of the animal’s behaviour management programme as stated in the BIAZA Animal Training Focus Group Position Statement.
At the centre we follow the operant conditioning method of training or positive reinforcement training, as described here by the BIAZA Focus Group:
"Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences. Behaviour is strengthened if followed by the addition of a stimulus the animal desires (known as positive reinforcement) or the removal of a stimulus the animal does not desire (negative reinforcement). Likewise, a behaviour is weakened if followed by the addition of a stimulus the animal does not desire (positive punishment) or the removal of a stimulus the animal desires (negative punishment). The animal “operates” on the environment, leading to a desired outcome. This type of learning is described as “response-stimulus” relations as the behaviour is not automatically triggered by the stimulus."
Successful training programmes at the Centre so far has seen male mangabey - Annan - receive an injection by hand for general anaesthetic and female mangabey - Obyibiefye - box train.
Video One: Box trained Video Two: Hand injection