The ideal environment for a nonhuman primate fosters the expression of desirable species-typical activities and does not distort the expression of normal behavior. In order to discuss the environment, however, one should first have an understanding of what species-typical activities will support a conclusion that the environment is achieving the goal of enabling individual well-being. Several factors should be considered, and knowledgeable judgment should be used in applying them:
Species-typical activities in the wild. A basic understanding of the behavior of a species in the wild is essential if that species is to be maintained in captivity. That is, does the species live in large groups like squirrel monkeys, or is it relatively solitary like orangutans? What type of social group does it have; do either young males or females emigrate from the parent group? Are social groups stable, or are they loosely connected and do they come together primarily for mating? Does the species locomote and sleep in trees, or on the ground? Does it make nests? Does it eat a variety of foods, including some meat, like macaques, or is it more limited to leaves and other plant parts like the colobus? There are many other similar questions one might ask, each varying in importance among the species. These are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 through 9.
In addition to knowing what each species does, an understanding of the "time budget" devoted to its principal activities (i.e., foraging, eating, locomoting, grooming, and sleeping) is desirable (Marriott 1988), but an absolute mirroring of this time budget in captivity is neither practical nor necessary. Some animals might devote the majority of their waking time to foraging, but in the process they might cover many miles. Providing the same time budget for foraging in captivity, without the associated exercise-related activity of locomotion, will likely produce obesity. This suggests the need to provide other types of activities and to reexamine diets. Other behaviors adapted for the wild, such as alarm calls for snakes or hawks should be recognized as alarm calls for unexpected occurrences (such as a broken water pipe, escaping steam, or an animal escaped from its cage) in the captive environment. On the other hand, captive environments that are created without a reasonable appreciation for how animals spend their time in the wild can result in expressions of qualitatively normal behaviors that are quantitatively harmful. Grooming of self or others to the point of baldness is a common example.
Knowledge of individual animal's previous history. As important as understanding "normal" species-typical activities in the wild is an appreciation for how an animal has been raised in captivity. A normally social animal raised for years in a semi-social environment (e.g., a room with multiple animals all in single cages) might not readily adapt to a normal social grouping, although studies have shown that this is not invariably the case. Some become adapted to people and