The Affenberg Landskron opened its doors in 1996 with 39 Japanese macaques directly imported from Japan. After a big racket because of an outbreak of the monkeys within the first week, the monkeys start feeling themselves home at the enclosure. The group grows since then and today includes 152 individuals. Since the beginning thoughtful animal attendants take care of the monkeys. In cooperation with the university stress hormones and aggression levels are measured and compared to free-living macaques continuously to keep the best living conditions for the monkeys.
But also ethology has become a big issue the last years. Where are the monkeys sleeping? Are the children born in the trees? What if the group grows bigger? Will they start to split up? … And what is their behavior all about? The behavior of the monkeys is observed under natural conditions and all research is non-invasive. There many other ways to test their skills, cooperation and self-perception.
Since April 2015 Lena Pflüger is taking care as scientific director about all these questions and is passing on her knowledge to students of the universities of Vienna and Graz. She is working with the monkeys since 2012 for her PhD and stays in contact with other scientist working with macaques all over the world.
We started the documentation of the scientific work in 2012. The resulting pictures are part of the research and serve as a big behavior catalogue for student training.
Some of the latest news from Affenberg were published in May 2016 at derstandard.at.