Behavioral effects of introducing pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor) to black howler monkey (Alouatta caraya) and white-faced saki (Pithecia pithecia) in a zoological park

Am J Primatol. 2008 May;70(5):505-9. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20521. Epub 2008 Jan 4.


Mixed-species primate exhibits are becoming more common in zoological parks as a means to display a diverse array of animals both more naturalistically and with more economy of space. Here, we describe behavioral changes during the introduction process of a pair of pied tamarins (Saguinus bicolor) to an established group of black howler monkeys (Allouatta caraya) and white-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia pithecia). Data were collected during six phases, representing introductions among the various species and to exhibit space and off-exhibit holding. The pied tamarins were consistently the most active of the three species. Although activity levels of the howler and saki monkeys remained constant throughout, that of the tamarins declined as the introduction progressed. Several episodes of aggression between the tamarins and the sakis were observed, but did not coincide with patterns predicted by previous intra-specific introductions. The three-species mix remained stable for several months; however, escalating aggression ultimately led to the removal of the sakis from the mixed-species exhibit. Despite our mixed results, we contend that only through continued trials, coupled with careful and systematic monitoring, can we ultimately identify stable mixes of species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alouatta / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Zoo / psychology*
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Pitheciidae / psychology*
  • Saguinus / psychology*
  • Video Recording