Shared by Kelly Albanese, BS, RLATg
Typically when one thinks of enrichment for non-human primates (NHPs), toys and food enrichment quickly come to mind. However, enrichment can be provided in many forms including visual enrichment. View boxes and C-tunnels are cage attachments that provide visual enhancement for non-human primates. Constructed of stainless steel, the durable View boxes and C-tunnels hook onto the cage door and are securely fastened with locks. Once the View box/C-tunnel is attached to the cage, the cage door can be opened to allow access into the unit. Both items can remain attached to the cage for daily cleaning and can be removed to go through a cage washer.
The primary purpose of the View box is to provide enhanced visual access by allowing non-human primates to see additional animals and provide a different perspective of their environment. Our facility uses the View boxes/C-tunnels as additional enrichment for animals. The C-tunnels are also useful as an initial step for potentially pair housing NHPs in the same quad without having to move NHPs. The C-tunnel can connect two cages (both vertical and horizontal configurations are available for purchase) and allow one animal access to another animal, while having the cage door serve as a divider. Another benefit of the View box and C-tunnels is the ability to easily attach enrichment devices directly to it.
Our facility utilizes View boxes and C-tunnels for Cynomolgus macaques. Both items were made by Allentown, Inc. based on our current NHP caging. Custom made for our current Allentown caging, the View box cost $3,125 and the C-tunnel cost $3,600. Although it does provide additional space for NHPs, there are limitations when an animal needs to be manipulated. When the squeeze back is used, there is less space available to administer injections. Both items need to be detached in order to remove an animal from the cage. In our colony, the animals spend the majority of their time inside the View box/C-tunnels. The benefit the View box and C-tunnels provide outweighs the limitations.