Captive Care Grants

The CCWP administers the PSGB Captive Care Grants. These are awards, typically not exceeding £1000, to assist research of benefit to primate welfare in captivity, and to assist education projects about captive primate welfare. Although the financial value of the grants is quite small, it should be remembered that approval from the PSGB is invaluable when applying for money from other sources.


Applying for funds

All PSGB members are eligible to apply for CCWP grants. Follow the 'Captive Care Submissions' link on the left for guidance notes and application form.

The deadline for the grant is 28th February each year.


Captive care grants awards


Emily Saunders, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. An enclosure design tool (EDT) to elicit wild-type behaviours in rehabilitant orangutans. Awarded £950.

We have devised an Enclosure Design Tool (EDT) to elicit wild-type behaviours in captive apes. This has been well received by the Zoo community, and we now aim to develop an EDT for orangutan sanctuaries in range countries. The EDT quantitatively compares data on the behavioural ecology of captive apes with the behaviour of their wild counterparts, and recommends enclosure modifications to encourage wild-type behavioural profiles. This project aims to test the effects of different structural and enrichment materials on the behaviour of rehabilitant orangutans at Samboja Lestari, Indonesia, in order to identify cost-effective recommendations for orangutan sanctuaries. Successful development of an EDT for orangutan sanctuaries would provide a robust evidence base for improving the welfare of rehabilitant individuals in range countries, and ensure that they possess the physical and cognitive skills needed for successful reintroduction into the wild.


Anthony Denice, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA, USA. The social behavior of rehabilitated black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Awarded £700.

Spider monkeys (genus: Ateles) are large New World primates that have a fluid, sexually-segregated social system characterized by frequent changes in subgroup size, membership, and cohesion throughout the day. In captivity, providing appropriate housing and social conditions for such a species is challenging. Reported patterns of aggression appear to reflect their inability to regulate social relationships in a species-typical manner. As aggression can lead to stress and injury, evaluating how captive spider monkeys mitigate aggression in different housing conditions is critical to their welfare. We will observe four ‘troops’ of rehabilitated black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) housed at Wildtracks’ Primate Rehabilitation Centre in Belize. Troops are given access to a second enclosure on a rotating basis, enabling us to observe them in multiple housing conditions. We hypothesize that spider monkeys can regulate social interactions and associations depending on whether they have access to one or two enclosures. Therefore, we predict that monkeys will perform more tension-regulating behaviors when restricted to one enclosure. With two enclosures available, we predict that associations parallel those of wild counterparts and that aggression will be less severe. Furthermore, we expect scratching, an anxiety-related displacement activity, to decrease when a second enclosure is also accessible.


Holly Asquith-Barnes, Royal Veterinary College London. Assessing the Effectiveness of Thermal Imaging in the Identification of Arthritic Conditions in Non-human Primates - a Tool for Improving Welfare. Awarded £690.

Abstract: This project aims to determine whether infrared thermography (thermal imaging) is a useful tool in identifying arthritis in non-human primates. In human and animal patients this disease leads to pain and a reduced range of motion in affected joints. Thermography is able to show an animal's physiological state by graphically mapping skin surface temperature in response to changes in blood flow and can be used to visualise inflammation. Thermal images will be taken of primates suffering from arthritis, the thermal symmetry and average temperatures of these images will be compared to comparable areas of the individuals own body and to those of healthy conspecifics. If significant differences are consistently found between images of arthritic and healthy primates it will be considered suggestive that thermal imaging may have a role in remotely identifying arthritis in non-human primates.

Jamie Whitehouse, Portsmouth University. Are stress-related behaviours meaningful to conspecifics in captive macaques? Awarded £600.

Abstract: It is unknown whether the specific behaviours accompanying stress in primates are understood by observing conspecifics. A cognitive understanding of stress-behaviours (yawning, or scratching) could be an invaluable tool when managing social relationships in a group, but equally, observing stress in others could be stressful, and thus have an impact on welfare. Through a series of cognitive experiments, I aim to test whether sanctuary-housed Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus, n = 6) can (1) categorise stress-related behaviours into discrete behavioural signals, and (2) reliably associate these behaviours to social stimuli of a negative valence. The findings of this project could lead to better welfare for primates (and potentially other animals) held in captivity, including those in biomedical facilities and laboratories, who may be adversely affected by witnessing the stress of others.



Francis Cabana, Oxford Brookes. Wild Bites:  Using Nutritional Ecology (Native Ingredients and Chemical Composition) of the Javan Slow Loris to Improve Captive Feeding Husbandry. Awarded £750. 

Abstract: Asia’s slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) are heavily impacted by the illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia (1). Confiscated lorises by Customs officials comprise a large percentage of animals in rescue centers and zoological institutions (1). Despite evidence from four species in the wild that lorises largely consume exudates and nectar, captive lorises are often fed a fruit diet (2), with approximately 63% of facilities reporting diet-related health issues including dental, renal, facial problems, obesity and impaired breeding (2,3,4). In this study I will follow radio collared free-ranging javan slow lorises (N. javanicus) for 14 months, itemising and quantifying their native diet.  Samples of all food items will be analysed for protein, fat, carbohydrates, ash, macro-minerals and trace elements. Data will be used to create nutritional recommendations for captive slow lorises, and develop nutritionally balanced and appropriate diets for captive animals.  Validation of diet improvements will be conducted  at Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre in Java, where lorises will be fed current diets as well as a naturalistic, suggested diet based on field results. Furthermore, intrinsic ability of lorises to utilize chitin will be evaluated.  Activity budgets, nutrient intakes and digestibility will be assessed and statistically compared against the wild data collected.

Sonya Kahlenberg, GRACE. Monitoring the Impact of a Forest Enclosure on Welfare and Reintroduction Potential of Orphaned Grauer’s Gorillas in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Awarded £750. 

Abstract: The Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center was established near the Tayna Nature Reserve in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2009 to care for the rising number of infant Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) confiscated from poachers and traders in DRC. Grauer’s gorillas are only found in eastern DRC and were recognized in 2012 as among the world’s 25 most endangered primates, due to rampant habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and insecurity in the region. GRACE’s ultimate goal is to rehabilitate and eventually reintroduce gorillas back into the wild as part of the collaborative Conservation Action Plan being implemented for Grauer’s gorillas. To progress toward this goal, we are building a 24-acre forest enclosure that will give the gorillas daily access to their natural habitat. We are requesting partial funding to support a research project that will document the gorillas’ introduction to and use of this new environment. In particular, we will monitor behavior and noninvasively measure stress to evaluate the wellbeing of the gorillas in this space and their acquisition of skills needed for reintroduction. Results will help GRACE provide better rehabilitative care for resident gorillas and evaluate each individual’s suitability for reintroduction.

Captive care grants awarded in previous years


  • Colleen Goh, University of Liverpool. Effects of enrichment of the physical environment on locomotion and activity levels in captive Western lowland gorillas in the UK. Awarded £575.  
  • Emma Williams, Oxford Brookes University. The behavioural ecology of the Northern Ceylon grey slender loris, Loris lydekkerianus nordicus: A comparison of activity, diet and behavioural repertoires in natural and captive environments. Awarded £575. 


  • Rosalie Dench, Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation. Important diseases of rehabilitant Orangutans: Establishing normal reference ranges for body weight and blood parameters. Awarded £897. 
  • Hannah Trayford, University of Cambridge. Monitoring Welfare Strategies for Rehabilitant Orangutans (Pongo sp.) in Indonesia. Awarded £750. 


Due to a lack of suitable applications, no awards were made in the April 2011 grant round. However, £400 was awarded (jointly with the Conservation Working Party) to John and Margaret Cooper to assist with running two short workshops concerned with providing training to local Kenyan and Ugandan veterinarians and wildlife biologists. They were trained in techniques that will promote the health and welfare of primates in the wild and in captivity.


  • Claire Watson, University of Stirling. Promoting marmoset welfare through the establishment of an open access website. Awarded £500. 
  • Richard Moore, Oxford Brookes University. Protocol, field methods and follow-up: Measuring the viability of Indonesian slow loris re-introductions, with a focus on the Critically Endangered Nycticebus javanicus. Awarded £750. 
  • Kathryn Shutt, University of Durham. Validation of a faecal glucocorticoid metabolite assay for the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Awarded £250.


  • Diana Marsilio. The impact of browse and fruit consumption on regurgitation and reingestion in captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla).
  • Olivier Caillabet. A parasitological survey of semi-captive drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus): Implications for reintroduction to the wild. 


Example publications from work supported by CCWP grants