Nonhuman Primates: Environmental Enrichment

BU IACUC Approved January 28, 2014, Revised April 2018, Approved May 2018

Boston University is committed to observing Federal policies and regulations and AAALAC International standards for the humane care and use of animals.1 This policy provides guidelines for providing environmental enrichment (EE) for nonhuman primates. The details for the implementation of this policy can be found in the Nonhuman Primate Enrichment Plan.3

Humane considerations and current policies require that research animals, whenever possible, must have the opportunity to interact with conspecifics and to benefit from EE as a means to express natural behaviors. Nonhuman primates are intelligent, social animals and require species-specific socialization and handling techniques as part of their EE considerations. In addition, interactive objects, foraging opportunities, and toys should be provided as part of EE as long as they do not interfere with any ongoing research.


  1. To define environmental enrichment for nonhuman primates, including single or group housing and various ways to “facilitate the expression of species-typical behavior and promoting psychological well-being through physical exercise, manipulative activities or cognitive challenges.”1
  2. To outline how exceptions to this policy should be considered by the IACUC or the veterinary staff.

Species-Specific Behaviors

  1. With some variation among nonhuman primate species but include foraging, grooming, perching, climbing, brachiation, exploration of physical environment, vocal and visual interaction with conspecifics, and exploration of manipulanda and devices that present cognitive challenges.2


Pair or Group Housing

Individual Housing

Limiting or Excluding Enrichment

Restricted Social Housing

Medical or Compatibility Conditions

Extra Enrichment

Enrichment Devices

A. The physical environment of the primary housing enclosure for NHP is enriched by several means

B. Replacement of Devices

C. Edible Treats


BU IACUC Approved January 28, 2014, Revised April 2018, Approved May 2018

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