Currently, the DPZ´s Primate Husbandry Unit houses approximately 1300 animals from seven different species. They are used both for research at the DPZ and at other scientific institutions. The majority of the primates are kept in breeding colonies.
Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are kept in breeding groups and as laboratory animals. With approximately 700 animals, it is the largest breeding colony at the DPZ. The breeding groups are mainly of Indian origin, offspring of a group imported from the Caribbean island of Cayo Santiago. At the DPZ, rhesus macaques serve as animal models for infection research and neuroscience.
With approximately 450 animals the common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) constitute the second largest primate colony at the DPZ, as well as the world´s largest breeding group. The breeding success of the Primate Husbandry Unit ensures that the in-house demand for laboratory animals is covered. Additionally, other publicly funded research institutons are provided with laboratory animals. At the DPZ, common marmosets serve as animal models for research on respiratory diseases, orthopox virus as well as in the field of stem cell research and auditory neuroscience.
At the DPZ, a breeding group with hamadryas baboons is kept (Papio hamadryas) since 1980. Because of their social structure, baboons can be easily bred. At the DPZ, there is currently no biomedical research with hamadryas baboons. The approximately 25 animals are kept, to cover the scientific needs of baboons in Germany. Hamadryas baboons are used as model organisms for research of epilepsy and schizophrenia, as well as for the study of immune responses in organ transplants.
The ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) are one of three lemur species kept and bred at the DPZ. The lemurs are used within the framework of their research in the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit . The DPZ maintains a research station in Madagascar, where the scientists observe and study the monkeys in their natural habitat.
Black-and-white ruffed lemurs
The black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) is the second major lemur species kept at the DPZ. The beautiful animals with thick black and white colored fur as well as the other species of lemurs (ring-tailed lemurs and mouse lemurs) are used for behavioral research at the DPZ.
Gray mouse lemurs
The gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) is a small lemur species and like all mouse lemurs, it is a nocturnal arboreal primate. The mouse lemurs are kept at the DPZ in an animal house where it is possible to shift the day and night cycle by 12 hours. Similarly to the night houses in zoological gardens, these nocturnal lemur species can be observed during the day.
The interactive tour guides the visitors to the husbandry and breeding facilities of the DPZ and provides a lot of information about monkey species, hygiene regulations and the daily work of veterinarians, animal caretakers and scientists.