Suet feeders filled with fresh fruit for rhesus macaques at the WNPRC

Behavioral Services

Read our 2020 feature story: WNPRC Behavioral Services Unit provides science-based enrichment for nonhuman primates

The Behavioral Services Unit promotes animal welfare and facilitates research by providing state-of-the-art behavioral management of the three species of nonhuman primates housed at WNPRC. The unit employs a lifespan perspective taking into consideration animals’ unique species-typical needs as they mature from infancy to old age. The work of the unit is driven by the overriding appreciation that the best animal models are those that are psychologically well adjusted. Our approach is team-based with an emphasis on the integration of expertise and efforts between service units and scientists. We work to promote species-typical behavior, decrease expression of abnormal or stereotypic behavior, and facilitate animals’ resilience and adaptation to research and husbandry procedures. These goals are met with our emphasis on providing for the social needs of the animals and through the continued evidence-based development of enhancement strategies that provide animals the opportunity to express species-typical exploratory and manipulatory behavior.  Our final role is to provide enhanced behavioral expertise to support investigators project specific behavioral requirements. A brief listing of our service support is outlined below.


  • Socialization in multiple housing configurations
  • Foraging, enrichment and structural enhancements
  • Evidence-based evaluation and refinement of enrichment and enhancement strategies
  • Tracking and follow up assessment of abnormal behavior and adjustment issues
  • Instruction in human to non-human primate interaction
  • Project-specific research support to scientists including training, shaping and behavioral observation
  • Outreach and undergraduate training opportunities


DR. PETER PIERRE Behavior Services – Unit Head
JENNIFER SULLIVAN Behavioral Services Coordinator Send email to Jennifer Sullivan
MICHELE ROSGA Behavioral Technician Send email to Michele Rosga
BRITTANY PETERSON Behavioral Technician Send email to Brittany Peterson
TAMMY AIRD Behavioral Technician Send email to Tammy Aird

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