Non-Human Primate Social Behavior and Welfare

Research at the JHU Primate Breeding and Research Farm

Dr. Hutchinson, the Director of Research Animal Resources, along with Sara Flemming (see below) have launched and overseen a program providing undergraduate students with research opportunities observing natural behavior and conducting behavioral experiments at the Johns Hopkins Nonhuman Primate Breeding and Research Farm, a facility housing 500+ macaques in indoor/outdoor group housing conditions.  

Sara Flemming is the Behavior Program Manager for Research Animal Resources.  She oversees the implementation of the JHU Environmental Enrichment Plan, which outlines the enrichment requirements for each species to ensure captive environments that allow for the expression of natural behaviors and promotes positive interactions between humans and animals.  Sara manages the rhesus and pigtail macaque breeding colonies at the JHU Nonhuman Primate Breeding Farm including: monitoring social groups for stability and social dynamics, rotating males for breeding to promote genetic diversity, introducing unfamiliar conspecifics for new group formation, and ensuring the use of species-appropriate enrichment to meet the psychological needs of the nonhuman primates.  Sara has worked with undergraduate students over the past three summers at the Farm on projects that include: developing and using an ethogram to establish matrilineal dominance within groups; examining the effects of various environmental enrichments, particularly foraging feeders on behavior,  determining whether group housing affects temperament assessments, and training nonhuman primates to “target” as a means of studying social learning and culture within and between social groups.

Animal Welfare NPR