Social management of captive primate populations

Captive breeding programmes provide important safeguard populations for endangered species. Studbook coordination requires intensive population management with specific demographic and genetic objectives to maintain a self-sustaining captive population. Due to advances in the knowledge of captive husbandry, breeding and also species biology, many studbooks have problems managing and housing surplus animals. WWCT staff manage a number of EAZA European breeding programmes and due to improvements in genetic knowledge of these populations, a variety of techniques to manage captive groups and population growth are being implemented. We are focusing on two primate species; the white-faced saki monkey (Pithecia pithecia) and Sulawesi crested black macaque (Macaca nigra), both managed as EEP programmes to determine the effect of different management methods on group behaviour and long-term breeding. Our research is endorsed by both the Cebid and Old World Monkey EAZA Taxon Advisory Groups and the EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception (EGZAC).

Project team:

Holly Farmer, Paignton Zoo
Tjerk ter Meulen, Gaia Zoo


Thornton, E., Farmer, H.L and Webb, M. 2015. Captive population management: investigating reproductive parameters and the long-term effect of contraception in white-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia pithecia). Presentation at the 17th Annual BIAZA Research Symposium, Dublin Zoo, Ireland, July 2015.

Webb, M. and Farmer, H. L. 2015. Update on saki monkey EEP research. Presentation at Cebid TAG mid-year meeting, Apenheul, Netherlands, May 2015.

Farmer, H.L and ter Meulen, T. 2014. Contraception survey for Old World Monkey EEP/ESBs. Presentation at the Old World Monkey TAG meeting, EAZA Annual Conference, Budapest, Hungary, 23rd-26th September 2014.

Silcocks, E., Farmer, H.L and Webb, M. 2014. Captive population management: the effect of
castration on behaviour and group dynamics in the white-faced saki monkey, Pithecia
. Presentation at the 16th Annual BIAZA Research Symposium, Blair Drummond Safari Park, 1st-2nd July 2014.