Faculty Advisor

Rulfs, Jill


The psychological well-being of non-human primates is an issue of importance to contemporary zoos. Two colonies of adult female brown-tufted capuchins were observed to evaluate the enrichment benefit of two puzzle feeders. The short-term effectiveness of the two puzzle feeders was assessed by comparing behaviors before and after the feeders' introduction. The long-term recognition was also examined to determine the possibility of using the feeders in a zoo setting. Finally, the influence of the food's novelty was determined. Results suggested that any enrichment was based entirely on the amount of novel food available. The boxes were of little cognitive challenge to the monkeys and usage was proportional to the amount of novel food available in the boxes. Few behavioral differences were noted, but as a result of box introduction, aggression levels increased in the colonies. The puzzle boxes are not an effective enrichment device.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002





Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

Advisor Program

Biology and Biotechnology