Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microchips Boost Monkey Business Behind Bars

Date:
March 7, 2006
Source:
University Of Queensland
Summary:
Improving the life of captive animals in zoos may be easy as microchipping them and automating individual care routines. Scientists from The University of Queensland are developing an enrichment and husbandry system that can dispense food, toys and medicine depending on the needs of individually microchipped animals.

Julia Hoy with the squirrel monkeys at Alma Park Zoo, north of Brisbane.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Queensland

Improving the life of captive animals in zoos may be easy as microchipping them and automating individual care routines.

Scientists from The University of Queensland are developing an enrichment and husbandry system that can dispense food, toys and medicine depending on the needs of individually microchipped animals.

Lead researcher UQ Gatton PhD student Julia Hoy said the system consisted of the microchips linked with scanners and other automated equipment that zoo keepers could set to release items at random times.

Miss Hoy said this unpredictability would help enrich caged life.

“The automated system involves microchipping animals so when they come to a scanner it will recognise each animal and then release food, sounds, smells, medications, toys or open a door controlling access to various parts of the enclosure,” Miss Hoy said.

“This has great potential for improving welfare which in turn increases breeding rates and possibilities for reintroduction to the wild.”

USQ researchers Mark Dunn and Professor John Billingsley are helping develop the enrichment system.

Miss Hoy has surveyed zoo staff about using the system with captive mammals but believes it will work with a wider range of animals.

She said the idea for the enrichment system stemmed from her honours project and wanting to give primates more individual care.

For her honours, she filmed 11 squirrel monkeys at Alma Park Zoo, north of Brisbane, for six months to see what would happen when she changed how their food was served.

Their diet of peeled and chopped fruit and vegetables that were regularly placed on feeding platforms was replaced with whole, unpeeled food which was hidden to increase their activity.

“They basically couldn't even peel a banana when we first gave them whole food.

“Some of the older monkeys who had never eaten whole food began biting the keepers because they had to work hard for their food.”

Some of the monkeys even pinched the scraps off their guinea pig-like cage mates called Agoutis instead of handling their own food.

Miss Hoy said zoos around the world were interested in the enrichment system after she visited 19 zoos in the United Kingdom, United States and Singapore last year asking them about the limitations of current enrichment programs.

The 24-year-old will visit and survey a further 10 zoos in Australia and New Zealand this year.

One of Miss Hoy's supervisors, Dr Peter Murray, a senior lecturer with UQ's School of Animal Studies, said the automated system could also isolate animals and dispense contraception without stressful handling.

“Enrichment takes time and money for zoos to do and staff time which is limited in most zoos,” Dr Murray said.

“If we can automate this process and the animals get as much enrichment as you can program into the system, then a lot of the zoos have already said to us, if you can do that we'll have it.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Queensland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Queensland. "Microchips Boost Monkey Business Behind Bars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060306093200.htm>.
University Of Queensland. (2006, March 7). Microchips Boost Monkey Business Behind Bars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060306093200.htm
University Of Queensland. "Microchips Boost Monkey Business Behind Bars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060306093200.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins