An expert consultation was conducted on separation ages for several primate species mentioned in Dutch legislation (chimpanzees, rhesus, stump-tailed and long-tailed macaques, marmosets, douroucoulis and squirrel monkeys). In total 25 senior experts from 7 different countries participated. ‘Median’ (middle value) separation ages as suggested by the experts were 6 years for chimpanzees; 12 months for macaques used in research and 4 years for macaques used for breeding or kept in zoos or shelters; 12-16 months for marmosets; 18-24 months for douroucoulis; and 10-18 months for squirrel monkeys. The main arguments related to natural conditions (e.g. at what ages the animals can survive without milk or group support). The paper provides a structured, transparent approach for decision support, leading to the general recommendation to the Dutch government to upgrade existing separation ages in accordance with ages previously specified for separation (‘weaning’) of young primates into individual housing.
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