A comparative multi-zoo survey investigating the housing and husbandry of Callimico goeldii

Amanda Jane Bartlett, Marianne Freeman, James Brereton

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Callimico (Callimico goeldii) are members of the callitrichid family, and a species of conservation concern managed within the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) ex situ program. They benefit from extensive ‘Best Practice’ guidelines developed by the Callitrichid Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), but there are gaps in species-specific knowledge and captive management research. A survey was created to understand and evaluate current housing and husbandry within EAZA collections holding callimico. The questionnaire allowed collation of details including enclosure size along with prevalence of mixed species exhibits, use of UV-B lighting, enclosure complexity and enrichment routines. Responding collections represented 44% of the current callimico holders, with the results allowing comparative analysis of current practice against the guidelines and considering previous research. Significant positive differences were discovered between minimum recommended enclosure dimensions, including total enclosure volume, 32 m3 (p < 0.001, median = 100) and height, 2.5 m (p < 0.001, median = 3) versus EAZA’s minimum recommended dimensions. Encouragingly, no significant difference in complexity was found between on and off exhibit housing, but the results suggest that being housed in a mixed species exhibit offers a more complex environment for callimico (W = 405.5, p < 0.005). The responses revealed overall good practice, although a disparity was noted in the provision of UV-B lighting and the prevalence of enrichment. Observational research focusing on spatial use, preference and behavior is recommended to complement husbandry guidelines. Reference of the survey findings to welfare indicators could determine the effect of current housing and husbandry on callimico welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
JournalJournal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2024


  • Goeldi’s monkey
  • callitrichid
  • captive management
  • welfare
  • enclosure complexity

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